Black Legion (1937): Archie Mayo’s Fact-Inspired Crime Drama, Starring Humphrey Bogart in his Best Performance to Date

Archie Mayo directed Black Legion, a crime drama, based on a fact-inspired script by Abem Finkel and William Wister Haines, from an original story by producer Robert Lord.

Grade: B+

Black Legion
Black Legion.jpg

Theatrical poster

The film stars Humphrey Bogart, in a lead role for a change, Dick Foran, Erin O’Brien-Moore and Ann Sheridan.

The tale is a fictionalized chronicle of the historic Michigan Black Legion of the 1930s, a white vigilante group whose many members lived in Detroit, which was a center of the Ku Klux Klan.

The plot is based on the May 1935 kidnapping and murder of Charles A. Poole, a Works Progress Administration organizer, in Detroit. Twelve men were tried and 11 convicted of murder; and all were sentenced to life.

Authorities prosecuted another 37 men for related crimes; they were also convicted and sentenced to prison, breaking up the Legion.

Columbia Pictures had earlier made the film Legion of Terror (1936), which was based on the same case.

Black Legion was praised by critics for its dramatization of a grim and significant phenomenon. It was one of that era’s several films that protested the existence of fascist and racist organizations.

Released after Bogart’s breakthrough in The Petrified Forest (1936), some speculated that his performance in Black Legion would make him a major star. But alas, it was not happen. Stardom would come to Bogart in 1941, with two films, High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon.

Warner did not give the film any special treatment, however, promoting it and Bogart in their standard b-level mode.

Synopsis:

When passed over for promotion in favor of a foreign-born, Frank Taylor, a midwestern factory worker, joins the anti-immigrant Black Legion. It was a secret white vigilante organization. (The real Black Legion split off of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1930s.).

Dressed in black robes and hoods, Taylor and the Legion mount torchlight raid and burn down the friend’s chicken farm, driving him out of town, so that Taylor could get the job.

Soon, however, Taylor’s recruiting activities get in the way of his work, and he is demoted in favor of Irish neighbor Mike Grogan. Unfazed. the Legion takes action again, attacking Grogan.

Under the Legion’s influence, Taylor becomes a brutal racist, which begins to alienate his wife. At one point, he strikes her across the face. He starts drinking heavily and takes up with other women.

When his friend Ed Jackson tries to counsel him, a drunken Taylor tells him about his Legion activities.

Taylor reports the conversation to Cliff, a co-worker and fellow member of the Legion, who initiates a false rumor that Jackson is a woman-beater.

On the pretext of punishing him for that offense, the Legion kidnaps Jackson. Jackson tries to escape, and while running away, Taylor shoots and kills him; breaking down afterward with guilt and remorse, he exclaims, “I didn’t mean to shoot!”

Taylor is arrested for murder, and the Legion threatens his wife and son in order to prevent him from implicating the secret group.

Taylor finally tells the truth, resulting in the conviction and life in prison sentences for members of the group.

Some of the details in the film, such as the initiation oath and the confessions in the trial scenes, were based on facts about the historic organization.

The U.S. libel laws had recently been broadened in scope by court rulings, and so Warner underplayed aspects of the group’s political activities to avoid legal repercussion.

The Ku Klux Klan sued Warner for patent infringement for the film’s use of a patented Klan insignia: a white cross on a red background with a black square, but a judge threw out the case.

Black Legion went into production in late August 1936. Location shooting took place in private homes in Hollywood, the Providencia Ranch in the Hollywood Hills and the Warner Ranch in Calabasas.

Executive producer Hal B. Wallis had wanted Edward G. Robinson to play the lead role, but producer Robert Lord thought Robinson was too foreign looking, and wanted a “more distinctly American looking.”

Writing for “Night and Day,” critic Graham Greene praised the film, characterizing it as “an intelligent and exciting, if rather earnest film,” and singled out the director’s attention to moments of horror.

Oscar Context:

Robert Lord’s original screenplay received an Oscar nomination, but it lost to William Wellman and Robert Carson’s text for A Star Is Born.

The National Board of Review named Black Legion as the best film of 1937, and Humphrey Bogart as the best actor.

It was one of a series of anti-fascist films that addressed the dangers faced by American society from groups that opposed immigrants (especially Jews) and blacks, showing that fascism and racism resulted in similar “crimes against humanity.”

Cast
Humphrey Bogart as Frank Taylor
Dick Foran as Ed Jackson
Erin O’Brien-Moore as Ruth Taylor
Ann Sheridan as Betty Grogan
Helen Flint as Pearl Danvers
Joseph Sawyer as Cliff Moore
Clifford Soubier as Mike Grogan
Alonzo Price as Alf Hargrave
Paul Harvey as Billings
Dickie Jones as Buddy Taylor
Samuel Hinds as Judge
Addison Richards as Prosecuting Attorney
Eddie Acuff as Metcalf
Dorothy Vaughan as Mrs. Grogan
John Litel as Tommy Smith
Henry Brandon as Joe Dombrowski
Charles Halton as Osgood
Pat C. Flick as Nick Strumpas
Francis Sayles as Charlie
Paul Stanton as Barham
Harry Hayden as Jones
Egon Brecher as Old Man Dombrowski (credited as Dombrowski, Sr.)
Robert Homans as Motorcycle Cop (uncredited)

Credits:

Directed by Archie Mayo; Michael Curtiz (uncredited)
Written by Story: Robert Lord
Screenplay: Abem Finkel, William Wister Haines
Produced by Robert Lord
Cinematography George Barnes
Edited by Owen Marks
Music by W. Franke Harling, Howard Jackson, Bernhard Kaun

Production and distribution: Warner

Release date: January 17, 1937 (NYC); January 30, 1937 (US)

Running time: 83 minutes
Budget $235,000

 

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88