The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

The Blood of Jesus: Kino Lorber’s Pioneers of African-American Cinema

Ends March 4th

The first feature by director/actor Spencer Williams (commonly remembered today as Andy on TV’s Amos ’n’ Andy), THE BLOOD OF JESUS, is a rural religious parable in which a woman (Cathryn Caviness), accidentally shot by her husband (Williams), travels to the crossroads of the hereafter, and faces the temptations of the devil himself (replete with pitchfork, horns, and cape). Williams appropriated footage from Roman Freulich’s 1936 inspirational short Broken Earth (starring Clarence Muse) to add stylish production value to this low-budget drama—but he proves to be quite the stylist himself with the images of the leering Satan and the stunning finale in which the protagonist falls to the foot of a cross and is bathed in the literal blood of Jesus, a moment that is both visually surreal and unexpectedly poignant. Williams returned to religious allegory with his similarly-themed Go Down, Death! in 1944. In 1991, THE BLOOD OF JESUS was selected to the National Film Registry of The Library of Congress.

Part of Kino Lorber’s Pioneers of African American Cinema, a one-of-a-kind collection of the works of America’s legendary first African-American filmmakers which includes digital restorations of over a dozen feature films, plus shorts, fragments, trailers, documentary footage, archival interviews and audio recordings.

Directed by Spencer Williams | 1941 | 56 minutes | United States | English

A portion of every ticket purchased directly supports The Frida Cinema, Orange County’s only non-profit indie cinema.