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The Godless Girl (1929)

Passed  -  Drama  -  31 March 1929 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 437 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 7 critic

Two teenagers, one an atheist and the other a Christian, fall in love at a brutal reform school.

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(story), (titles), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Judy Craig - The Girl
...
Mame - The Other Girl
Tom Keene ...
Bob Hathaway - The Boy (as George Duryea)
Noah Beery ...
The Brute
Eddie Quillan ...
Samuel 'Bozo' Johnson - The Goat
Mary Jane Irving ...
The Victim
Clarence Burton ...
Prison Guard
Richard Alexander ...
Prison Guard (as Dick Alexander)
Kate Price ...
Prison Matron
Hedwiga Reicher ...
Prison Matron (as Hedwig Reicher)
...
Viola Louie ...
Emily Barrye ...
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Storyline

High school students led by the Girl and Boy turn from Christianity toward secret atheistic meetings. When a girl is accidentally killed by a stairway collapse, the Girl and Boy go to reform school where they are treated brutally. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 March 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atheist  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System) (talking sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the fictional claims made my the film's publicity department was that it was filmed on location in a real reformatory, using real inmates. This is false; the reform school sets (both indoors and out) were constructed sets, and the cast was comprised of Hollywood actors. See more »

Quotes

Opening Title Card: [first card] It is not generally known that there are Atheist Societies using the schools of the country as their battle-ground - attacking, through the Youth of the Nation, the beliefs that are sacred to most of the people.
Opening Title Card: [second card] And no fanatics are so bitter as youthful fanatics.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Sans epic milieu Cecil B still showman.
20 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

B DeMille can still find enough sensational material in modern day America as an excuse to bring on chaos and destruction in The Godless Girl. It's atheists versus Christians in a struggle for the soul of roaring twenties youth not debated through civil discourse but violence and calamity with CB measuring it out in clockwork segments.

High schooler Judy Craig is out "to kill the bible" by organizing and giving lectures on atheism. When the principal gets wind of a meeting he completely abandons his responsibility and allows the student body president and his righteous classmates to deal with the problem. Displaying high school spirit like jack booted Fascists they bust up the meeting which results in a death and packs both instigators off to prison for manslaughter. Conveiently both the men's and women's reformatories are neighbors and the two end up bonding against a sadistic warden.

Basically a silent The Godless Girl offers an audacious and defiant female well ahead of her time in Judy Craig with Lena Basquette conveying a confident and independent exterior most of the film. Bob Keene has the look of an Arrow man but is dull in comparison to Lena's Judy. Marie Prevost and Eddie Quillan provide some comic bits while Noah Beery is his usual sadistic self as the corrections officer.

For his part DeMille provides an abundance of hair raising scenes including an hallucinogenic fall over a banister with the crowd looking on. C.B. is clearly on the Creator's side but he does give us a feisty heroine in the non-believer Judy while unintentionally exposing the rabid intolerance of the God squad. DeMille also seems to be at a loss on what to do between the torrid scenes but by then the provocative poster or coming attraction has already secured your money.


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