Illustrated "Text" of Pollard's Film

  In 1999, Kino Video released Universal's Uncle Tom's Cabin on DVD and VHS formats. Their version of the film derives from the copy in the Library of Congress, which is the 10-reel movie that Universal prepared from the original 13-reel movie in late 1927 for national distribution, along with the "synchronized" soundtrack that Universal added in September, 1928, in order to try bringing the movie into the sound era that The Jazz Singer had inaugurated the year before. Kino made two additional cuts in the movie, two scenes involving Topsy that they felt were too racially offensive, including the scene below of Topsy using Miss Ophelia's powder to try "whitening" herself — a scene that Stowe never wrote, of course, but one that had appeared in Tom Shows and children's editions of her novel for decades when Pollard wrote it into his script (Kino includes the excised scenes on their DVD among the "special features"). Because of the availability of the Kino edition, this archive includes just a bit less than 10% of the movie in its 19 clips.
  On this page, you can get a sense of the shape of the whole movie, as abridged by Universal. Below is an "illustrated text" of the 1928 sound version: all the captions or titles that appeared in the film, along with a representative image or a 30-60 second clip. The opening credits attribute the titles to Walter Anthony, but it's clear that as the film was restructured and cut in response to Southern complaints and a lackluster box office they were revised by at least several people at Universal. Most of the titles are lines of dialogue, which will enable you to "hear," for example, how little Tom "says," especially compared to the white characters. The rest help us understand how ideologically charged motifs like "slavery" and "the South" were glossed by the film.
  As throughout the archive, you'll need a QUICKTIME PLAYER to view the clips.

THE "WORDS" OF THE SILENT MOVIE
CLIP
"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil."   Robert E. Lee   Dec. 27,1856
  In the year of our Lord, 1856
CLIP
The Kentucky home of the Shelbys — an honored name in the South since Revolutionary days.
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"What an original idea, Mrs Shelby — making a social event of the wedding of slaves."
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"We raised Eliza from a baby — she couldn't have had a better education of training if she had been our daughter."
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"Salome—where are the children?"
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"Dunno whar dey is, Miss 'Liza."
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"BOO!"
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"LIZA'S GOIN' TO GIT MARRIED! LIZA'S GOIN' TO GIT MARRIED!"
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Mr. and Mrs. Shelby, whose gentle rule of the slaves was typical of the South.
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"Mr. Shelby is going to tell George to get ready for the wedding—so you'd better hurry, Eliza."
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"LIZA'S GOIN' TO GIT MARRIED! LIZA'S GOIN' TO GIT MARRIED!"
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George Harris, the bride-groom — a slave 'rented' to Mr. Shelby by the month.
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"You've done enough work for today, George — better get ready for your wedding."
CLIP
[Slaves on the Shelby plantation]
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Tom Haley — a man of business.
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"Shelby, I hope you're not forgetting, one of your notes is due today."
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"I sent Uncle Tom to Cincinnati for the money."
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"— you sent a slave into a free state for money — and you think he's coming back?"
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[Eliza and George's wedding]
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"Land's sake! Dey's gettin' married jes' like white folks —"
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"— almost."
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"Dey is white folks —"
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"— almost."
CLIP
Moonlight bathing the old Kentucky home in radiance — romance in the winged and perfumed breezes of the night. (1)
CLIP
Moonlight bathing the old Kentucky home in radiance — romance in the winged and perfumed breezes of the night. (2)
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Uncle Tom. For three generations his ancestors had been contented servitors in the Shelby family.
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Uncle Tom's cabin.
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Edward Harris, owner of the body and brain of George Harris.
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"I came to get my slave."
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"— and when Mr. Shelby buys my freedom, I'll buy yours, Eliza."
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"What do you mean — gettin' married without my consent?"
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"I've done nothing to be ashamed of, sir."
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"Call me Master!"
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"Please, Mr. Harris — don't be so cruel! Can't you respect their love?"
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"Love — what do they know about love?"
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"Mr. Harris, we want to buy George — what is your price?"
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"— he ain't for sale!"
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[Mr. Harris takes George Harris away.]
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The years brought harsher bondage to George, but were blessed by the love of a baby boy —
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During the years that passed, Haley had 'Helped' Shelby with many loans on a basis — strictly business.
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"I couldn't think of parting with Uncle Tom — he's like one of the family."
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"Well, you haven't got the money — and a Shelby always pays his bills."
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"George — you're running away from your Master!"
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"What has he done, now, George?"
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"He is forcing me to marry one of his slaves — tonight!"
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"Hello, Jim Crow!"
CLIP
"— how about a little dance?"
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"Once I get to Canada, Eliza, I'll earn your freedom and Harry's."
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"Well — do I get Tom?"
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"You've got me, Haley, where I can't refuse — Uncle Tom is yours."
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"Of course, you realize, even Tom doesn't cover your note —"
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"But that's a small matter —"
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"— and George, promise you'll buy Harry's freedom first. He's so bright — so beautiful —I'm afraid —"
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"Don't worry, dearest — Mr. Shelby would never sell our Harry."
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"Throw in little Jim Crow with Tom, and I'll cancel the note."
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[Eliza saying goodby to George.]
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"Shelby, I'd hate to foreclose you — on account of your wife, but —"
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"Speak up, Shelby — yes or no!"
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"I have no choice — Tom and Harry are yours."
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[Harry showing Eliza the toy Haley gave him]
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"I — I was looking for my baby, sir."
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But no echo of sadness reached Uncle Tom's cabin.
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But no echo of sadness reached Uncle Tom's cabin.
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"We's got a lot to be thankful for—"
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"De Lord's been mighty good to us."
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"Tom — Mr. Shelby has sold my baby!"
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"And he's sold you, too."
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"Tom, you must go with me!"
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"My duty is here, chile — go, and God bless you."
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"Mighty funny to me — I buy the boy and then he disappears!"
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"My man, George, has run away — the dogs have tracked him here!"
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"I'll bet he's run away with Eliza and her boy!"
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"My bloodhounds are outside, Haley — come on!"
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"I hope they never catch them."
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[Eliza carrying Harry through the snow]
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"No human can cross that river tonight and the dogs can't track in this storm. Let's warm up at the Inn."
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"We're looking for George Harris, a yellow boy, and a light girl with her baby."
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"I'm a lawyer, and my name is Marks."
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"Well — did you see them?"
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"I'm a lawyer, and my name is Marks."
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"I know you and your business of catching runaways. Have you seen 'em?"
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"A hundred dollars for the kid."
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"And how much for the girl?"
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"Nothing — she belongs to Shelby."
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"We'll let them have the kid, but we'll sell the mother down the river."
CLIP
[Eliza crossing the ice]
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Phineas Fletcher, on the North side of the river — a Quaker in a free State.
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"This way quick — the falls are just below."
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Though in a free state, Eliza was subject to the Dred Scott decision — a slave could be taken wherever found.
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"Thy husband has crossed the river, too! He'll start for Canada with thee — after dark."
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"She's in there, Loker! We'll grab 'em both and take 'em down the river."
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"Get her, Officer, before she escapes again."
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Uncle Tom, caught in the black and hopeless stream of human souls — destined down the river.
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[Goodby to Tom]
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Down the river.
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Augustine St. Clare, of New Orleans.
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Miss Ophelia, his cousin from Vermont.
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"How shiftless!"
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"Land o' Goshen, Eva! What are you up to now?"
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"I always take goodies to the negroes — downstairs."
CLIP
"Did you make it all yourself?"
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"I's made hundreds of dem fo' my children, back in Kaintucky."
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Always haunting the river boats, risking capture and punishment — searching for his wife and baby.
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"Well, if it ain't George Harris — the runaway."
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"Guess I'll send you back to your master —"
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Stolen by Marks and Loker — chained to their string of human freight, Eliza and Harry await shipment — down the river.
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"Once the girl and the baby are on the boat, who can tell them from the slaves we bought."
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[George escaping off the boat]
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[Eliza and Tom seeing each other on the boat]
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"Uncle Tom, I'm going to ask Papa to buy you."
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"Haley's aboard! If you want to keep your kid — lay low."
CLIP
"Do you think you'll be happy with your little mistress?"
IMAGE
[Tom with his new master]
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[Eliza with Harry, Harry with toy]
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Lemuel Proctor — plantation owner.
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"I'll give you three hundred dollars for the boy."
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"Four hundred — and not a cent more."
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"I take my slaves off at the next landing. Get the boy ready."
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[Loker stealing Harry away from Eliza]
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"Now you're goin' for a nice, long walk."
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"Mama! Mama!"
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[Eliza trying to recover Harry]
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"A house divided against itself cannot stand. I do not believe that this Government can permanently endure, half slave and half free."
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Friday, April 12, 1861 — — Fort Sumter is fired upon.
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["CIVIL WAR IS BEGUN"]
[INTERMISSION]
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The St. Clare home in New Orleans.
CLIP
Little Eva's spirit touched the life of Uncle Tom, like a sunbeam in a darkened room.
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"— that means you can go home to your wife and babies!"
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"Topsy!"
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"Yes, Miss Feely —"
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"Topsy, where are you?"
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"Heah I is, Miss Feely."
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"What are you doing?"
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"I is pickin' flowers."
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"Don't you know you mustn't pick them?"
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"But I's pickin' dem for Missy Eva."
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"Very well, take them to her, and then come to me."
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[Topsy and Eva]
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"Topsy!"
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"Topsee!"
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"I think Miss Feely wants me."
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"Golly! How did dat ribbon get up mah sleeve?"
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"Topsy, don't you know it's wicked to steal?"
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"I nebber seen dat ribbon till dis blessed minute!"
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"— I nebber seen dem gloves befo'!"
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"Well, Miss Feely — maybe I did take dem gloves—"
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"— but I nebber did see dat ribbon befo'!"
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"What am I going to do with you?"
CLIP
"'Specs you'd better whip me —"
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"Please, Aunt Ophelia, let me talk to Topsy."
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"It's jes' pos'ble I did take dem gloves —"
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"— but I nebber did see dat ribbon befo'."
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"Topsy, what makes you so bad?"
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"'Specs it's 'cause I is so wicked."
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"— if you'd only try to be good."
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"Couldn't be nuthin' but a nigger if I wuz ever so good."
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"If I could be skinned and come out white, I might be good."
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"Oh, Topsy, people can love you, even if you are black."
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"Nobody loves niggers — 'cause niggers ain't worth nuthin', nohow."
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"Oh Topsy — I love you."
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"Don't cry, Topsy."
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"I ain't cryin' — it's jes' my weak eyes."
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"Topsy, won't you be good? I don't think I'll be with you long."
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"Oh, Missy Eva, please — please don't say dat!"
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"I'll try to be good, Missy Eva."
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[Topsy, and Eva with halo]
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[Topsy at mirror]
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"Please, Miss Feely, I jes' wanted to make myself white—so I could be good like Missy Eva."
CLIP
But the light that touched the St. Clare home like a benediction, had slowly faded —
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[Eva in death]
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"I — I brung her a flower —"
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"— such a pretty one —"
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"Oh, Missy Eva — I wish I wuz dead, too."
CLIP
"She said — she loved me."
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"Now, there ain't nobody to love me, no mo'."
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"I — I will love you, Topsy."
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Augustine St. Clare did not long survive his daughter — and his entire estate came under the auctioneer's hammer.
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"SALE! SALE! SALE! ST. CLARE ESTATE OF NEGROES"
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[The slave auction]
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[Tom being sold]
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Simon Legree, who had come from the North, bore an evil reputation for cruelty to his slaves.
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"Sold — to Simon Legree."
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"Fifteen hundred dollars!"
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"Sold — to Simon Legree."
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Across two states — George Harris, ever on the trail of Lemuel Proctor, the buyer of little Harry.
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"Is there a man named Proctor living in this town?"
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Simon Legree's plantation.
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"I wouldn't hurt you, Honey — I wouldn't hurt anything."
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Cassy — for twenty years enslaved to Legree — her life saddened by memories of the baby that had been torn from her breast, long ago.
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"Jealous, eh — Cassy?"
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"You flatter yourself, Simon."
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"What do you mean — comin' in here when I'm busy?"
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"— nobody is going to rob me of my place in this household!"
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"I've got a good mind to send you to the slave quarters — where you belong!"
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"You don't dare! You're afraid of me."
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Sambo and Quimbo — darkened souls in brutalized bodies.
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"Dis nigger's been makin' trubble 'mong de hands — preachin' an' a-prayin'!"
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"I'll do all the prayin' around here!"
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"Whip her!"
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"No, Massa — I can't do it, nohow."
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"Didn't I pay twelve hundred dollars for you — ain't you mine, body and soul?"
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"No, Massa! My body may belong to you, but my soul belongs to God."
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"Give him the worst floggin' he ever had!"
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And the marching feet of the liberating host thundered nearer — ever nearer —
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Terror spread before them —
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[George recovers Harry]
CLIP
And the song they sang was a new song of bondage broken and chains forever lifted —
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While Legree, brute ruler of his realm, only ten miles distant from the flood of blue, held high carnival —
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"You am a ministerin' angel, Missy —"
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"Don't call me Missy — I'm a slave, too — he owns me body and soul."
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"Oh, Missy — don't be so bitter."
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"Bitter? They kept me ignorant of my heritage of blood, while I learned to be a lady — a white lady."
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"Then they sold my baby to a man named Shelby, and they sold me — down the river."
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"And all these weary years, that baby's voice has been calling, Mama — Mama!"
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"Why, Missy — that's 'Liza's story.'"
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"Eliza?"
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"Massa Shelby was my Massa, too. But we wuz sold down de river — Legree bought us both —"
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"That means my child Eliza — is here!"
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"You will steal my man, will you?"
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"Make 'em jealous — that's the way!"
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"Lord God Almighty, child — I'm your mother!"
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"They tore you from my arms to sell you up the river, and me — to hell!"
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"Mother!"
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"My baby!"
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[Legree realizes Cassy and Eliza are gone]
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"He thinks the ghosts of his murdered victims haunt the attic. We'll be safe there!"
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"Where are them women?"
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"I can't say, Massa."
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Over dusty roads they spread, ever closer to the Legree plantation.
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[George and Harry marching with emancipated slaves.]
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"Bring Tom here. I'll find out where they are!"
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"Massa — it's dem ghosts in the attic ag'in!"
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"Tom, I've made up my mind to kill you —"
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"— unless you tell me where them women are!"
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[Tom refusing to betray Cassy and Eliza.]
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"We'll make him tell!"
CLIP
"They're beating Uncle Tom —"
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"He's done fo', Massa."
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"Take him out!"
CLIP
"I forgive you — as I hope to be forgiven."
CLIP
[Legree and Tom's ghost]
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"Sambo! Quimbo!"
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"He's in the attic! Drive him out!"
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"Well — if here ain't our two ghosts!"
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[Cassy and Eliza in the attic]
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"See the Captain — up front."
CLIP
[Death of Legree]
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[Harris family reunited]
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[Final shot]


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