THE BLOOD OF JESUS
(Fantasy Religious Drama 1941) 58 mins
Rev. R.L. Robertson
A White Girl Rules The Jungle...Her strength Of Power was NABONGA!
The Blood of Jesus (1941) is a classic example of the "race film" genre of films by African-American directors and casts, geared exclusively for an African-American audience. This film, written and directed by Spencer William Jr. of the TV show Amos & Andy Show (who also played Razz Williams in the film), is a morality tale about a woman (Cathryn Caviness) who is accidentally shot to death by her atheist husband. Facing death, she goes on a symbolic journey, she must choose between Hell, represented as urban life, and Zion, represented as pastoral America, and between Satan and God.
As he succumbs to the injuries, a good angel bids her to journey with him to the Crossroads of Life. Before she can travel far, the devil lures her with the temptations of juke joints and the city. Can she regain the straight and narrow before it's too late? And what is to become of those she left behind?
The climax comes when she makes her decision at the foot of the cross and wakes up to singing of her church choir. Intended to promote a Black Southern Baptist ideal of a virtuous rural life, the film was a major success and the most popular hit in its genre.
Star, director, producer, and writer Spencer Williams would later star as Andy on the AMOS AND ANDY television series.
This is a simple, heartfelt story and an instance where a film’s low budget is actually enhancing. The picture has the rough-hewn quality of folk ad and the emotional intensity of a spiritual. Williams invests his film with reverence and a feeling of authenticity, and he and the rest of the cast give natural and unaffected performances. Whether you’re a saint or a sinner, you’ll find The Blood of Jesus unlike any film you’ve seen before, one which deserves a place among the great low-budget films of all time. -Eric Schaefer, Exploitation Film Historian