Movies on YouTube: 1940s Drama Double Feature

CALEB LAUDE | THE SPECTRUM

Due to studio bankruptcies, errors or the passage of time, countless movies have entered the glorious public domain.

Some of these movies are underrated classics, but others are horrendous. Either way, these movies are free and easily found on YouTube.

‘The Blood of Jesus’ (1941)

“The Blood of Jesus” is a race film, which were movies made for black audiences featuring black casts. These movies were made up until the early 1950s, and fewer than 100 still exist.

The movie starts with a woman named Martha getting baptized in a river. Her new atheist husband, Ras, does not attend and goes hunting instead.

When Ras returns home he — like a moron — accidentally shoots Martha. Martha’s soul then goes to the crossroads between Heaven and Hell where the devil harasses her and an angel tries to save her.

“The Blood of Jesus” is generally surreal, and the movie is best thought of as a Southern Baptist episode of the “Twilight Zone.”

This is probably the best religious movie I have seen. This is certainly not one those syrupy movies they show on the Hallmark Channel. Ultimately, even my frigid heart was warmed by this film.

There is a lot of hymn singing in this film, which at times does slow it down. Yet, I must admit the singing does add a certain cultural layer that one does not encounter many other places. It helps make “The Blood of Jesus” a fascinating slice of Southern Baptist culture and a worthwhile watch.

‘For You I Die’ (1947)

It turns out “For You I Die” is a crime noir movie that does not feature much crime, nor much noir. But it is entertaining enough to be a satisfying little movie.

The movie starts with two prison escapees hiding in a ditch. We learn one of the escapees was forced into participating in the escape by the other convict, who seems to be the more violent of the pair.

The men separate and the reluctant inmate hides out in a nearby cafe/hotel. Meanwhile, the other convict disappears from focus and commits crimes in the area to finance the pair’s planned escape to Mexico.

There a couple scenes in “For You I Die” that feel extremely out of place, including one endless dance sequence that leads to literally nothing. This woman danced and danced and danced and by the time she was done I was filling out my paperwork to join AARP. Had I known such a scene would be in the movie I would have done something more productive with that time, like learn how to properly cut a mango.

Otherwise, the writing overall is quite good, and I get the sense that “For You I Die” could have been a classic movie with some slight changes and better actors. But the drama is there, and that is all that matters. What works here works, and “For You I Die” will probably keep your attention for 75 minutes.

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