a/k/a She Devil
a/k/a Voodoo Devil Drums
a/k/a Voodoo Drums
Year of Release: 1934
Runtime: 70 mins.
Studio(s): Sack Amusement Enterprises
Director: Arthur Hoerl
Laura Bowman (Aunt Hagar), Edna Barr (Myrtle Simpson), Lionel Monagas (Ebenezer), J. Augustus Smith (Amos Berry), Morris McKenny (Thomas Catt), A. B. Comathiere (Deacon Dunson), Alberta Perkins, (Sister Knight), Fred Bonny (Brother Zero), Paul Johnson (Deacon August), Trixie Smith (Sister Marguerite), Carrie Huff (Sister Zuzan)
Thomas Catt, the proprietor of a “jook,” a Southern cabaret-brothel, desires young, virginal Myrtle Simpson, the niece of preacher Amos Berry and fiancée of the grandson of Aunt Hagar, the local voodoo high priestess.
Although Catt threatens to expose Amos’ past to his congregation if he refuses to “give” Myrtle to him, Amos resists Catt’s attempts at blackmail, while Aunt Hagar activates some of her voodoo spells.
Later, during one of Amos’ spirited revival meetings, Catt bursts in and, after drawing his razor, announces that he has come to claim Myrtle. Defied by both Aunt Hagar’s grandson and Amos, Catt starts to reveal to the congregation that Amos had once murdered a man. In the middle of his exposé, however, Catt is struck by a bolt of lightning and is blinded, a fate that had been predicted by Aunt Hagar. Catt is then smothered in a pool of quicksand, and Myrtle and Amos are at last freed from their tormentor.
The New York State Censor Board records from 1934 indicate that the film was retitled The Devil. Drums o’ Voodoo was re-released in 1940 under the title She Devil. In 1981, the film was found in a warehouse by historian-producer Alex Gordon.
The screenplay was based on the stage play, Louisiana, by J. Augustus Smith. Most of the all-black cast, including playwright J. Augustus Smith, also appeared in the stage play, which was produced on Broadway by the Negro Theatre Guild. The play was one act long and was only performed eight times, partly because of the criticism of Brooks Atkinson of New York Times.
Modern sources list the title as Voodoo Devil Drums and Voodoo Drums. Additional cast members from modern sources include James Davis (Brother Zumee), Ruth Morrison (Sister Gaghan), Harriet Daughtry (Sister Lauter), Bennie Small (Bou Bouche), Pedro Lopez (Marcon), Jennie Day, Gladys Booker, Herminie Sullivan, Lillian Exum, Edith Woodby, Mabel Grant, Marion Hughes, Madeline Smith, Theresa Harris, Dorothy St. Claire, Eleanor Hines, Pauline Freeman, Annabelle Smith, Jacquiline Ghant, Annabelle Ross and Harriett Scott (Members of the Flat Rock Washfoot Baptist Church), Cherokee Thornton, Arthur McLean, DeWitt Davis, Rudoph Walker, Marvin Everhart, Jimmie Cook, Irene Bagley, Sally Timmons, Beatrice James and Marie Remsen (Voodoo Dancers). Source(s): TCM, DAARAC,org, Movieposters.