The Blood of Jesus (1941)

68 mins | Drama | 1941

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HISTORY

The viewed print of the film bore the title The Blood of Jesus , but information contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that in 1941 a censored version, running 57 minutes, was exhibited in New York State under the title The Glory Road . It has not been determined when the title of the film was changed. Modern sources list the running time of the film at 68 minutes, and the length at 6,065 feet; however, the print viewed ran only 57 minutes. Modern sources also note that as a result of the film's success, producer Alfred N. Sack offered director Spencer Williams a ten-year contract with his company to produce eight more ... More Less

The viewed print of the film bore the title The Blood of Jesus , but information contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that in 1941 a censored version, running 57 minutes, was exhibited in New York State under the title The Glory Road . It has not been determined when the title of the film was changed. Modern sources list the running time of the film at 68 minutes, and the length at 6,065 feet; however, the print viewed ran only 57 minutes. Modern sources also note that as a result of the film's success, producer Alfred N. Sack offered director Spencer Williams a ten-year contract with his company to produce eight more films. More Less

CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PHOTOGRAPHY
SOURCES
SONGS
"Good News!" "Go Down, Moses," "Amazing Grace," "Heav'n, Heav'n," "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," traditional, arranged by Henry Thacker Burleigh
"I've Heard of a City Called Heaven," "Run, Child, Run" and "On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand," spirituals
"Weary Blues," composer undetermined.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Glory Road
Duration(in mins):
68
Length(in feet):
6,065
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At the riverside baptism of Sister Martha Ann Jackson, two members of a Southern black church congregation, Sister Ellerby and Sister Jenkins, discuss Martha's three-month-old marriage to the godless Ras Jackson and agree that, because of his wayward behavior, she is not ready for religion. After the baptism, Sister Jenkins escorts Martha home and advises her to get some rest. As she is leaving, Sister Jenkins encounters Ras, who missed the baptism and is returning home from a hunting trip. When Ras's wife presses him with questions about his hunting trip and the hog he captured, he confesses that it was a neighbor's hog that he killed. Ras begrudgingly joins his wife in prayer and then sets down his rifle, which falls to the ground and fires a bullet. The bullet strikes Martha, passes through her and hits a picture of Jesus Christ. On her deathbed, Martha is visited by a heavenly angel, who takes her spirit to a mystical graveyard where those whose lives have been cut short by the sins of others walk in silence. The angel tells Martha that this is not the place for her yet, and sends her on a journey down the highway of life to the crossroads of life and death. No sooner does the angel warn Martha to beware of hypocrites and false prophets, than she is tempted by Judas Green, Satan's emissary, who dresses her in fancy clothes and takes her to a nightclub in the city. While Martha is entertained by an acrobat and a jazz singer, Judas makes arrangements with sleazy roadhouse operator Rufus Brown to hire her as ... +


At the riverside baptism of Sister Martha Ann Jackson, two members of a Southern black church congregation, Sister Ellerby and Sister Jenkins, discuss Martha's three-month-old marriage to the godless Ras Jackson and agree that, because of his wayward behavior, she is not ready for religion. After the baptism, Sister Jenkins escorts Martha home and advises her to get some rest. As she is leaving, Sister Jenkins encounters Ras, who missed the baptism and is returning home from a hunting trip. When Ras's wife presses him with questions about his hunting trip and the hog he captured, he confesses that it was a neighbor's hog that he killed. Ras begrudgingly joins his wife in prayer and then sets down his rifle, which falls to the ground and fires a bullet. The bullet strikes Martha, passes through her and hits a picture of Jesus Christ. On her deathbed, Martha is visited by a heavenly angel, who takes her spirit to a mystical graveyard where those whose lives have been cut short by the sins of others walk in silence. The angel tells Martha that this is not the place for her yet, and sends her on a journey down the highway of life to the crossroads of life and death. No sooner does the angel warn Martha to beware of hypocrites and false prophets, than she is tempted by Judas Green, Satan's emissary, who dresses her in fancy clothes and takes her to a nightclub in the city. While Martha is entertained by an acrobat and a jazz singer, Judas makes arrangements with sleazy roadhouse operator Rufus Brown to hire her as one of his "girls." Martha is tempted with the promise of abundant wealth for little work, but she changes her mind just before she is to begin her job. Claiming that he invested money in her clothing, Brown ignores her pleas and insists that she go to work immediately. Martha eventually takes the advice of the angel and flees the roadhouse, only to be chased by a customer who mistakes her for the escort who picked his pocket. The man and his friends chase Martha to the crossroads of eternal life and death, where Satan and a jazz band assembled on the back of a flatbed truck are waiting for her. Martha collapses at the crossroads but is saved by the angel, who sends away the men who have been chasing her. As the crossroads sign is transformed into a crucifix and drops of Jesus Christ's blood land on Martha's forehead, she is revived and returned to life. Ras is amazed at Martha's miraculous recovery, and they fall into an embrace under the watchful eye of the angel. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.