Cast & Crew
The federal government sends Captain Harry Ford south to round up some moonshiners, and while there he falls in love with Georgia Gwynne, whose brother Jefferson accuses Harry of aiding black agitators in their political fight against whites. The two men quarrel, then, later, Jefferson is found murdered. Authorities throw Harry in jail for the crime, but Sampson, a black leader, talks in his sleep and is overheard by an elderly black man, whom Harry had befriended, confessing to the murder of Gwynne. This clears Harry and allows him and Georgia to plan their marriage.
The film was originally entitled The New South. Moving Picture World commented concerning the depiction of African Americans in the film: "Viewed as a peculiarly venomous stimulant of race hatred, the mischief-creating possibilities contained in Broken Chains cannot be denied.... It requires no unnatural amount of perspicacity to visualize the sort of reception a Southern audience would accord to the production.... But even in other sections of the country, we doubt if the sight of a blood-lustful negro murdering a white man, or the lashing of a Caucasian with a whip by a colored convict, acting under orders from an overseer of the Simon Legree type, will win public approval, to say nothing of injury to the feelings of Afro-Americans who form no small portion of the smaller theatres' patronage. Nor is the stealing of a ballot-box during an election by the colored hosts and the precipitation of a race riot especially alluring to the average citizen. It is just such pictures as this that feed ammunition to the censorship advocates, with which to bombard the citadels of filmland." Motion Picture News, in their review, commented, "The black villain ... is tortured by a third degree of remorse and superstition easily imagined in a negro."