Black Moon (1934)

  • Black Moon (1934)Producer: Harry Cohn
  • Director: Roy William Neill
  • Writers: Clements Ripley, Wells Root
  • Stars: Jack Holt, Fay Wray, Dorothy Burgess
  • Studio: Columbia Pictures Corporation

It’s amazing that this voodoo movie hasn’t received more (any?) attention. Juanita (Dorothy Burgess) lives with her rich husband Stephen Lane (Jack Holt) in Manhattan, but can’t wait to get back to the French Caribbean island of San Christopher where she was born. The atmosphere there is almost like in Island of Lost Souls, but with blacks instead of beast men.

Her plantation owner Uncle Raymond (Arnold Korff) warns Lang that “We are five whites and around us are 2000 blacks!” and threatens to whip any that get out of line. They kill anyone that threatens to take Juanita away again including the overseer (knife in back), wireless radio operator (hanging) and a nurse (lava pit). Slow menacing drumming is heard non stop. Lunch (Clarence Muse), from Georgia, who calls the locals “monkey chasers,” shows Lang a big ceremony in the woods where Juanita dances wildly. The natives eventually attack and overrun the main house and Juanita prepares to sacrifice her own little girl (Cora Sue Collins) while frenzied natives dance.

Fay Wray (who never looked better) is Gail the secretary who loves Lang and reluctantly came along. Mme. Sul-te-wan is Ruva, who raised Juanita and Laurence Criner is Kala the priest. The Columbia release runs 68 mins. TCM had planned to show this but never did. Ripley also wrote the Bette Davis plantation movie Jezebel (1938). Neil’s next was The Black Room (1935) starring Karloff.

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