The Dungeon (1922)

Genres - Crime, Drama  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Produced and written by leading African-American entrepreneur Oscar Micheaux, this silent horror-melodrama with political overtones starred Shingzie Howard as Myrtle Downing, who although she loves lawyer Stephen Cameron (William E. Fountaine), is drugged into marrying "Gyp" Lassiter (J. Kenneth Goodman). Lassiter, she soon realizes, is a "Bluebeard" killer, who kept his previous wives in a basement dungeon. Cameron, meanwhile, has struck it rich in Alaska but returns to run against Lassiter in the local congressional election. Lassiter has struck a secret deal so that if he wins, segregation between the races would be continued. Myrtle learns of her husband's deceit, but before she can warn the black constituent, she is intercepted by Lassiter and thrown in the dungeon. She is rescued in the nick of time by Cameron, who kills the evil Lassiter. Despite its noble intentions, The Dungeon was criticised by African-American newspaper editors, who found the casting of only light-skinned blacks troublesome. D. Ireland Thomas of the Chicago Defender accused Micheaux of "relying on his name alone to tell the public that it is a race production; or maybe he is after booking it in white theaters."

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Keywords

killing, man