Murder in Harlem

Murder in Harlem (also released as Lem Hawkins Confession) is a 1935 American race film written, produced and directed by Oscar Micheaux, who also appears in the film. He remade his 1921 silent film The Gunsaulus Mystery.

Murder in Harlem
Directed byOscar Micheaux
Clarence Williams (cabaret sequence) (uncredited)
Produced byAlice B. Russell (producer)
Oscar Micheaux (producer) (uncredited)
Written byOscar Micheaux (novel The Story of Dorothy Stanfield)
Oscar Micheaux (screenplay)
Clarence Williams (cabaret sequence) (uncredited)
StarringSee below
CinematographyCharles Levine
Release date
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States

Basing the works on the 1913 trial of Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan,[1] Micheaux used the detective genre to introduce different voices and conflicting accounts by his characters.


An African-American man is framed of the murder of a white woman, but a white man is found to be responsible.[2][3]


  • Clarence Brooks as Henry Glory
  • Dorothy Van Engle as Claudia Vance
  • Andrew Bishop as Anthony Brisbane
  • Alec Lovejoy as Lem Hawkins
  • Laura Bowman as Mrs. Epps
  • Bee Freeman as The Catbird
  • Alice B. Russell as Mrs. Vance
  • Eunice Wilson as Singer
  • Lorenzo McClane as Arthur Vance
  • David Hanna as Undetermined Role
  • "Slick" Chester as Detective


  • "Harlem Rhythm Dance" (Music and lyrics by Clarence Williams)
  • "Ants in My Pants" (Music and lyrics by Clarence Williams)

See also


  1. "Oscar Micheaux and Leo Frank: Cinematic Justice Across the Color Line", Film Quarterly, Summer 2004. Archived April 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Overview: Lem Hawkins’ Confession", Turner Classic Movies.
  3. J. Ronald Green, Straight Lick: The Cinema of Oscar Micheaux, Indiana University Press, 2000, p. 174.

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