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Go Down, Death!

Go Down, Death!(1944)

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A written foreword appears in the film following the opening credits: "This story of love and simple faith and the triumph of good over evil was inspired by the poem 'Go Down, Death!' from the pen of the celebrated Negro author James Weldon Johnson, now of sainted memory." Publicity material relating to the film lists the title as "Go Down Death! The Story of Jesus and the Devil." No contemporary reviews have been located for the film. It was approved for release with eliminations by NYSA in December 1947, and, according to information contained in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film was completed by July 1946 when it was submitted for certification. The PCA file also reveals that regional censorship boards in Ohio and Maryland ordered a number of eliminations from the film, including scenes depicting Hell, the exposure of a naked breast and the scene in which "Mabel" pulls up her dress while talking to the preacher. In 1948, Ohio censors demanded the elimination of the sequence in which the devil is seen "chewing" a man. Modern sources list the running time as 54 minutes and indicate that it was made in 1944.