Cast & Crew
Edith Duval, a former maid, occupies a Southside Chicago mansion after it is abandoned by its wealthy meat packer owner. She is part of a wild crowd that likes to gamble, dance and have a good time. One night, when she throws a huge party for her friends, Jean Baptiste, a sincere young black man, draws her away from the crowd and confesses his love for her. Edith is delighted and tells Jean her plans to turn the house into a gambling club. Outraged by the suggestion, Jean declares his desire to take her away to a farm in South Dakota to earn an honest living. Edith, however, scornfully sends him away. Five years later, Jean has become such a successful farmer that he needs a hand with the chores and asks his new neighbors for help. Jean and the head of the family agree that the son will work for him. Meanwhile, Agnes, the daughter, is very attracted to Jean and, although he returns her love, he breaks off the romance because she is white and he is afraid that she will face a difficult life if they marry. Brokenhearted, Jean returns to Chicago. There, he visits Edith's nightclub, and determined to put Agnes behind him, he proposes to Edith again. This time she happily accepts. Unfortunately, an old lover of Edith shoots her in a jealous rage and Jean is accused of her murder. Upon seeing his name in the paper, Agnes decides to go to his aid. Her father agrees, and before she goes, he tells her that her mother was of Ethiopian descent, so it is all right for her to marry Jean. Just as she arrives in Chicago, she meets Jean, who has been completely cleared of the crime. The two set off for a happy married life in South Dakota.
A. B. Comathiere
Don Heywood And His Band
Leonard Harper And His Chorines
This film, which was billed as the "first Negro talker," was Micheaux's first sound film. The Variety review notes that it "runs" only partly in dialogue, the rest of the film using sound synchronization. According to Variety, Frank Schiffman was the general manager of Leo Brecher Theater Enterprises and personally operated the Lafayette in Harlem. Variety also notes that the initial estimated cost of the film was approximately $4,500, and that its final cost was $15,000. Roland Holder does a tap dance and Louise "Jota" Cook, a nightclub entertainer, does a "muscle dance" in the film.
Modern sources note that Micheaux filmed the outside of steel magnate Charles Schwab's New York City mansion, without authorization, to represent the Duval mansion in the film. They note further that after a successful premiere in New York, the first showing in Pittsburgh was halted midway by two women members of the Pennsylvania Board of Censors, because, they claimed, it lacked a seal indicating that it had been passed by the state censor board. There was speculation at the time that the real reason was that certain scenes showed a black man making love to a light-skinned woman. Modern sources give the followng information about the production: that Micheaux thought that his ending, which ultimately skirted the issue of interracial love, would allow the picture to be shown; that a second version of The Exile was made because Micheaux was unhappy with Stanley Morrell's performance; and that many scenes were reportedly reshot with Lorenzo Tucker in the lead role, and advertisements were printed announcing him in the starring role. No extant prints of the Tucker version have been located, and it is possible the film May not have been completed.