A returning seminary student goes up against a small New England town when he comes to the aid of a prostitute who has been injured, despite the townspeople's calls for her to be run out of... See full summary »
A returning seminary student goes up against a small New England town when he comes to the aid of a prostitute who has been injured, despite the townspeople's calls for her to be run out of town. His stand endangers his upcoming marriage and his standing in the town where he was to be a minister. Written by
first half was great and the second half just doesn't work
The first half to two-thirds of the film worked very well and I would rate this portion a 7 because the plot was very engaging and I found myself really caring about the characters. A man who loves the sea returns from theology school. He's expected to marry and become a minister in the local church, but all this comes to naught when the gossipy and hypocritical people of the town ostracize him. That's because a loose woman arrives via a boat wreck and no one wants to help her. The young man, being a true Christian, takes her into his home and nurses her back to health--at which point all the evil old jerks in the town begin gossiping and intimating that they are living in sin! The man is willing to accept this, but what really crushes him is that his fiancée also begins to believe this.
So, feeling crushed and furious about the rotten little town, he books passage for the fallen woman on a passing ship and joins the crew as well. However, the ship is not as it appeared and the captain is a lecher and the ships cargo are prisoners who are severely man-handled by the wicked crew. The young man despairs and his faith is gone,...that is until the young woman stabs herself when the captain tries to rape her! At this point, he springs to action and kills the captain. Somehow, and they really don't explain this, after killing the captain, he then converts the wicked crew and begins traveling the world to spread the Gospel. While this idea was very, very far-fetched, it could have worked if handled with some grace and intelligence. Unfortunately, it was not and the film just ended on a very silly and unbelievable note when he returned to his original town and everyone recanted their evil ways and begged forgiveness after the man made an impromptu sermon at the dock. Too bad, as the first half was exceptional.
By the way, as the film talked about rape, prostitution and suicide, it was a decidedly "Pre-Code" film that NEVER would have been made a decade later when the subject matter on the screen was more tightly regulated. Also, this film was largely forgotten until recently shown on TCM. Much of this was probably due to it having no one particularly famous in the film (at least today). The quality of the print and restoration is indeed superb.
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