Friday, June 7, 2013

Movie of the Week: The Devil's Daughter (Review)

I always check out a movie's IMDb ratings and reviews before I watch them. Most times, I believe that the ratings on race movies are unfair. However, I had to agree with the ratings for The Devil's Daughter.


Sylvia Walton (Ida James) of Harlem inherits a Jamaican banana plantation and returns to manage it. Since her arrival, there's been no sign of her disinherited half-sister Isabelle (Nina Mae McKinney), who ran the plantation until their father's death. But Sylvia, her two rival suitors (Emmett "Babe" Wallace and Jack Carter), and her comic-relief servant Percy ("Hamtree" Harrington) are disturbed by the constant, growing sound of drums. Meanwhile, in hiding, Isabelle schemes to regain her former place by manipulating local 'obeah' superstition. [IMDb]

The summary sums up the movie pretty well--there was nothing "in-depth" about it. At all

This movie's plot actually had a lot of potential, but it's almost as though the writer wrote the script in two days. Things that didn't need to be explained were over-explained in monologues and we swiftly breezed through the most important plot points. Plus, the film isn't even an hour long (which wasn't too uncommon for some low-budget classic films anyway). So much could have been done to make this just a good movie. 

Quality shot (sarcasm) of Nina Mae McKinney as "Isabelle Walton".

The visual quality of this film was pretty bad also. This could be because of the film's age and lack of preservation, however. Plus, you would think that those in charge of the "look" of the film were scared of the location! According to IMDb, the movie was shot in Kingston, Jamaica, but we don't get too many broad, beautiful views of the land. If not for IMDb, I would have assumed that the movie was shot in the backyard of a Hollywood Hills resident.

However, the film does open with a group of people performing what appears to be a cultural song-and-dance, and that was pretty cool to watch. 


You won't be able to see their faces very well, but being able to hear the voices of and acknowledge the presence of some of American entertainment's forgotten stars (Nina Mae McKinney, Ida James, "Babe" Wallace) is quite a treat. Other than that, this movie isn't even average. It's pretty bad. Would I dissuade you from watching The Devil's Daughter? I wouldn't. Would I persuade you? Nope. 

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