Life is running its usual erratic but carefree course for the black community on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue. However, the lively music of the swing club headed by Speed Simmons (Sidney Easton) , ineptly supported by musical bartender Flivver Johnson (Alex Lovejoy) fails to overshadow the shadow of political strife. Marshall (Norman Astwood) the leader of the Harlem Better Business League, is fired because of his unscrupulous tactics and ex-Army favorite Pa Wilkins in nominated instead. When Pa accepts, Marshall plans bloody revenge, enlisting the help of no-good, hard drinking womanizer Jim Braxton (Ernie Ransom) – who just happens to be Pa’s choice for his lovely daughter Ola (Dene Larry) . Ola, though determined to marry progressive reformist Greg, is resigned to follow Pa’s wishes.
While playboy Jim breaks the heart of fawning Rosalia (Cristola Williams) , Ola and Greg marry and elope to the South. Shaken but not stirred, Pa Wilkins campaigns for honest business practices and receives the full support of the HBBL. Marshall’s attempt to kill him by planting a bomb at the Progress Hall is foiled by wise-cracking Speed Simmons and his band, so he decides to take the direct approach – overt assassination at one of Pa’s rallies. Will this dastardly plan succeed?
Running Time: 65 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: Approved
"In Murder At Lenox Avenue, director Arthur Dreifuss effectively captures the angst and pressing issues of America’s black community in the 1940’s. Set against a cultural backdrop of swing music and political unrest, the film is an authentic representation of those troubled times in New York’s Harlem district. It tells a compassionate story of love, betrayal and conflicting loyalties while highlighting the principles that fired America’s most influential black reformers. This classic 1941 feature film with an exclusively African-American cast – now on DVD from A2ZCDS - will capture your heart and transport you back to one of America’s most vital eras."
"There is no mistaking the serious tone of Murder on Lenox Avenue, but I still found it immensely entertaining. The swing music is authentic and full-blooded, and I found that this timeless feature film could touch me even after all these years. What an experience to see it now, almost fifty years after I first caught it as a kid at the local Cinerama…"
Albert Brentwood (Cedar Rapids, IOWA)
"Frankly, I haven’t seen any other movies directed by Arthur Dreifuss – but in Murder on Lenox Avenue he tackles the issues faced by coloreds in the ‘40s in a very sensitive way. I can personally relate to the anger one feels when greedy big wheels try to disrupt a harmonious community. In terms of a meaningful theme and some truly good performances, I rate this classic film with the best."
Kevin P. Affleck (Pembroke Pines, FLORIDA)
CAST & CREW:
Edna Mae Harris
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