6.1/10
464
21 user 13 critic

Black Moon (1934)

Approved | | Drama, Horror | 15 June 1934 (USA)
A young girl who lives on a tropical island loses her parents to a voodoo sacrifice, but although she manages to escape the island, a curse is put on her. Years later, as an adult, she ... See full summary »

Director:

Roy William Neill

Writers:

Clements Ripley (from the Cosmopolitian Magazine story), Wells Root (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Jack Holt ... Stephen Lane
Fay Wray ... Gail Hamilton
Dorothy Burgess ... Juanita Perez Lane
Cora Sue Collins ... Nancy Lane
Arnold Korff ... Dr. Raymond Perez
Clarence Muse ... 'Lunch' McClaren
Eleanor Wesselhoeft Eleanor Wesselhoeft ... Anna
Madame Sul-Te-Wan Madame Sul-Te-Wan ... Ruva
Laurence Criner Laurence Criner ... Kala
Lumsden Hare ... John Macklin
Henry Kolker ... The Psychiatrist
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Storyline

A young girl who lives on a tropical island loses her parents to a voodoo sacrifice, but although she manages to escape the island, a curse is put on her. Years later, as an adult, she feels a strong compulsion to return to the island to confront her past. Her husband, her daughter and her nanny go with her, but once back on the island, the woman finds herself elevated by the locals to the stature of a voodoo goddess, and she begins her inevitable descent into madness, with disastrous results for her family. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love battling against the sorcery of the jungle! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 June 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Oi daimones tou Adou See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The unflattering depiction of black locals in this film sparked some concerns about releasing the film in regions with high concentrations of African-Americans in the United States. The Motion Picture Herald review of the film suggested that "the colored natives involved in the film are rather harshly pictured as blood-thirsty worshippers of black gods who indulge in sacrificial orgies, the film may meet with objection in those situations where colored people make up a portion of the patronage." See more »

Quotes

Juanita Perez Lane: Orders! Who is he to give me orders?
John Macklin: He's only the man who saved you from a living death. Those natives never thanked him for sending you away from the island and they've never forgotten it.
Juanita Perez Lane: Neither have I.
John Macklin: How can you say that? You've a fine husband and a beautiful child. She looks just as you did - before that black woman Ruva got hold of you and filled you with the sound of the drums and the sight of blood. Poisoned you with the voodoo!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Walked with a Zombie (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tame Columbia horror offering
26 July 2010 | by mhesseliusSee all my reviews

"I Walked with a Zombie" may not have been the first Voodoo film adapted from Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre," which is not surprising when you consider the West Indies was where Edward Rochester courted his mad wife. Perhaps it's a stretch, but "Black Moon" seems to contain several plot elements from Bronte's novel as Stephen Lane—whose West Indian born wife is drifting into madness—forms a close personal bond with his secretary.

When the wife (Dorothy Burgess), under the influence of a Voodoo curse, returns to her childhood home in the West Indies, Lane's secretary (Fay Wray) accompanies her. Lane (Jack Holt) soon follows. Here the secretary becomes a substitute mother for Stephen's child, recalling a similar relationship between Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester's ward Adele. Also, Stephen, like Edward Rochester, can finally have the woman he truly loves only when his wife dies as a result of her madness, in this case leading a native uprising.

Judging from other comments about this being a good example of pre-code horror, my expectations were high. But the director and writers never adequately explored the terror of situations. There are no build-ups of suspense. Things just happen. People are found dead after the fact. Killings and Voodoo sacrifices that happen on-screen are clumsily directed. Nevertheless, performances are uniformly good, the script is literate, and there are a few moments of cinematic art. The print I saw on Turner Classic Movies is very clean; and I was impressed by Joe August's cinematography in the scene in the tower as it filled with smoke from the burning tunnel. The interplay of light and smoke created an eerie atmosphere that I wish had been made more of.


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