|Directed by||King Vidor|
|Produced by||King Vidor
|Written by||King Vidor
|Starring||Daniel L. Haynes
Nina Mae McKinney
William E. Fountaine
Fannie Belle de Knight
|Music by||Irving Berlin|
|Editing by||Anson Stevenson
|Release date(s)||August 20, 1929|
|Running time||90 minutes|
Filmed in Tennessee and Arkansas and chronicling the troubled quest of a sharecropper, Zeke Johnson (Haynes), and his relationship with the seductive Chick (McKinney), Hallelujah! was one of the first all-black films by a major studio. It was intended for a general audience and was considered so risky a venture by MGM that they required King Vidor to invest his own salary in the production. Vidor's vision was to attempt to present a relatively non-stereotyped view of African-American life.
Hallelujah! was King Vidor's first sound film, and combined sound recorded on location and sound recorded post-production in Hollywood. King Vidor was nominated for a Best Director Oscar for the film.
Plot summary 
Sharecroppers Zeke and Spunk Johnson sell their part of the cotton crop for $100. Cheated out of the money by Zeke's girlfriend Chick (sixteen-year-old Nina Mae McKinney, in possibly her greatest role), in collusion with her gambling-hustler friends, Spunk is murdered in the ensuing brawl. Zeke runs away and reforms his life, becoming a minister.
Sometime later, he returns and preaches a rousing revival. Now engaged to a virtuous maiden named Missy (Victoria Spivey), he finds that Chick is still interested in him. She asks for baptism but is clearly not truly repentant. Tragically, Zeke throws away his new life for her. The film then cuts to Zeke's new life; he is working at a log mill and is married to Chick, who is secretly cheating on him with her old flame, Hot Shot (William Fountaine).
When Chick and Hot Shot decide to cut and run just as Zeke finds out about the affair, Zeke follows after them. The carriage carrying both Hot Shot and Chick overturns, and Zeke catches up to them. Holding her in his arms, he watches Chick die as she apologizes to him for being unable to change her ways. Zeke then chases Hot Shot on foot. He stalks slowly through the woods and swamp while Hot Shot tries to run but continues to stumble until Zeke finally kills him. The film ends with Zeke returning to his family at the cotton crop after serving time in prison. His family is more than happy to welcome him back into the flock.
- Donald Crafton, The Talkies: American Cinema's Transition to Sound, 1926-1931 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999) p. 405.
- Hallelujah! at the Internet Movie Database
- Hallelujah! at AllRovi
- A review on barnesandnoble.com
- Classic Black Films Stand as History, Art from NPR's "All Things Considered", first broadcast January 13, 2006.
- "Spotlight: Hallelujah!" at Turner Classic Movies
- "King Vidor's Hallelujah" at the Museum of Modern Art