The Emperor Jones (1933) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Emperor Jones (1933)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

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 plays tricks on the natives with a gun, proclaiming that only a silver bullet can kill him. The natives believe he is immortal and he declares himself emperor, holding a tyrannical rule over the people. They naturally revolt, and he is forced to escape into the jungle. Brutus disappears into the woods where he hears voices and sees visions, eventually leading up to his suicide.

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Cast

Paul Robeson
as Brutus Jones
Dudley Digges
as Smithers
Ruby Elzy
as Dolly
Jackie Mayble
as Marcella
Brandon Evans
as Carrington
Rex Ingram
as Court Crier
Taylor Gordon
as Stick-Man
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Critic Reviews for The Emperor Jones

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

It is a distinguished offering, resolute and firm, with a most compelling portrayal by Paul Robeson.

October 16, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

Paul Robeson gives one of his greatest film performances in this arty, dated, but interesting 1933 adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's play.

October 16, 2007 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A great performance from the legendary African-American singer Paul Robeson.

January 21, 2008 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The Emperor Jones bludgeoned through color barriers.

October 16, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Q Network Film Desk

Robeson's powerful presence, particularly through his wonderful, mellifluous voice, dominates each scene.

October 16, 2007 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
TV Guide

Despite its marked deficiencies ... remains a "must see" for historic and cultural purposes

March 4, 2007 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
Old School Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Emperor Jones

I didn't watch the whole movie, I got bored. If you want to see a good old African American film, you may find this one interesting, but other than that, it's kind of boring.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

The Emperor Jones Quotes

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