Black Legion (1937)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Black Legion (1937) Poster

When a hard-working machinist loses a promotion to a Polish-born worker, he is seduced into joining the secretive Black Legion, which intimidates foreigners through violence.



  • Humphrey Bogart and Joe Sawyer in Black Legion (1937)
  • Humphrey Bogart in Black Legion (1937)
  • Black Legion (1937)
  • Humphrey Bogart and Robert Homans in Black Legion (1937)
  • Humphrey Bogart and Erin O'Brien-Moore in Black Legion (1937)
  • Humphrey Bogart and Joe Sawyer in Black Legion (1937)

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28 May 2011 | blanche-2
| Good story, ahead of its time
A frustrated Humphrey Bogart joins the "Black Legion," a 1937 film directed by Archie Mayo. The film also stars Dick Foran and Ann Sheridan.

Bogart plays Frank Taylor, a husband and father who expects to get a promotion at the auto plant where he works. It goes instead to a young, hard-working man named Dombrowski. When Frank doesn't get the job, he's furious. That night on the radio he hears the head of the Black Legion railing against foreigners taking American jobs, and he decides to join them.

The Black Legion, of course, is the Ku Klux Klan, with the sheets and the whole deal. Their methods are brutal - fires, flogging, beatings, etc.

It appears all you needed was a foreign last name to qualify as a victim of this group. Back in the '20s and '30s, Italians, Irish, and other immigrant groups could only get menial jobs like sweeping floors, the prejudice against them was so great.

It was quite a forward step to make a film about this back in 1937, and it's a good one. Bogart at the time was about 37, and we're so used to seeing him older that he looks like a baby here. He's terrific as a loving father and husband who becomes a new, violent person under the influence of the Legion. He loses more than he gains. It's a great example of how easily people can find a scapegoat for their troubles.

Ann Sheridan has a supporting role -- she's very young but recognizable from her voice! Good movie.

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