The Emperor Jones (1933)
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The Emperor Jones (1933)
Adapted by DuBose Heyward from a Eugene O'Neill play, Emperor Jones is one of Paul Robeson's earliest and most powerful leading roles. Railroad porter Brutus Jones (Robeson) leaves his girlfriend Dolly (Ruby Elzy) in favor of Undine (Fredi Washington), but he soon leaves her too. Brutus is a master manipulator, liar, and swindler who murders his friend Jeff (Frank Wilson) over a crap game. He ends up on a chain gang, but escapes to Haiti where the white trader Smithers (Dudley Digges) buys his freedom. He then scams his way into a business partnership with Smithers and becomes rich. He… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It is a distinguished offering, resolute and firm, with a most compelling portrayal by Paul Robeson."
‑ Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
"The Emperor Jones bludgeoned through color barriers."
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"Paul Robeson gives one of his greatest film performances in this arty, dated, but interesting 1933 adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's play."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Robeson's powerful presence, particularly through his wonderful, mellifluous voice, dominates each scene."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A great performance from the legendary African-American singer Paul Robeson."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Despite its marked deficiencies ... remains a "must see" for historic and cultural purposes"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
More reviews for The Emperor Jones (1933) on Rotten Tomatoes