Down 9,933 this week

The Godless Girl (1929)

Passed  -  Drama  -  31 March 1929 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 438 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 7 critic

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



(story), (titles), 1 more credit »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

Venice Film Festival

See the latest from the 2014 Venice Film Festival

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 01 Jun 2012
a list of 39 titles
created 20 Feb 2013
a list of 48 titles
created 14 May 2013
a list of 124 titles
created 01 Aug 2013

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Godless Girl (1929)

The Godless Girl (1929) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Godless Girl.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Dynamite (1929)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Wealthy Cynthia is in love with not-so-wealthy Roger, who is married to Marcia. The threesome is terribly modern about the situation, and Marcia will gladly divorce Roger if Cynthia agrees ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Conrad Nagel, Kay Johnson, Charles Bickford
Certificate: Passed Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Roman soldier becomes torn between his love for a Christian woman and his loyalty to Emperor Nero.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, Elissa Landi
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When an animal trapper in Indo-China finds that his daughter's fiancé is being successfully seduced by her estranged mother, he takes appropriate action.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Lupe Velez, Estelle Taylor
Manslaughter (1922)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Society-girl thrill seeker Lydia causes the death of motorcycle policeman and is prosecuted by her fiancé Daniel who describes in lurid detail the downfall of Rome. While she's in prison she reforms and Daniel becomes a wasted alcoholic.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Leatrice Joy, Thomas Meighan, Lois Wilson
Piccadilly (1929)
Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young Chinese woman, working in the kitchen at a London dance club, is given the chance to become the club's main act which soon leads to a plot of betrayal, forbidden love and murder.

Director: Ewald André Dupont
Stars: Gilda Gray, Anna May Wong, Jameson Thomas
Union Pacific (1939)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

One of the last bills signed by President Lincoln authorizes pushing the Union Pacific Railroad across the wilderness to California. But financial opportunist Asa Barrows hopes to profit ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Akim Tamiroff
The Plainsman (1936)
Biography | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Wild Bill Hickok attempts to stop an Indian uprising that was started by white gun-runners.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Ellison
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Clipper ships taking the shortest route between the Mississippi and the Atlantic often end up on the shoals of Key West in the 1840s. Salvaging the ships' cargos has become a lucrative ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard
Unconquered (1947)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Intrepid frontiersman Chris Holden foils the political and personal ambitions of renegade Martin Garth in the Ohio Valley following the French and Indian War.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Paulette Goddard, Howard Da Silva
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Texas Ranger Dusty Rivers ("Isn't that a contradiction in terms?", another character asks him) travels to Canada in the 1880s in search of Jacques Corbeau, who is wanted for murder. He ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Madeleine Carroll, Paulette Goddard
The Squaw Man (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jim Wyngate, an English aristocrat, comes to the American West under a cloud of suspicion for embezzlement actually committed by his cousin Lord Henry. In Wyoming, Wyngate runs afoul of ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Warner Baxter, Lupe Velez, Eleanor Boardman
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

High school students band together to dispense vigilante justice against a vicious gangland boss.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Charles Bickford, Judith Allen, Richard Cromwell


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 ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 March 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atheist  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System) (talking sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


For the fire scene, dozens of female extras playing inmates had to shimmy down the two-story exterior set of the reformatory. The set would be on fire and it was only a matter of time before the whole thing was consumed by flames. According to a cameraman, at least three young women did not leave the roof fast enough, and were badly burned. See more »


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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Intolerance versus intolerance"
24 January 2009 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

Anyone who has seen a handful of Cecil B. DeMille pictures will be able to see that they are often contradictory on many levels, and can take some bizarre turns. In the Godless Girl – his last silent feature – an exaggerated and ill-informed attack upon atheism turns into what is for its era a rather grittily authentic portrayal of a penal institution.

Interestingly, the opening scenes show how fundamentalists such as DeMille and his screenwriter Jeanie MacPherson seem only able to picture atheists as having a ritualism and desire to convert similar to that of a religious group. It's also indicative of DeMille's fundamentalism that there are rarely actual arguments for belief in his pictures – just a sprinkling of quotations from scripture, a dash of Old Testament pyrotechnics and a reverent depiction of religious figures. Here that last tactic is reversed, with the unbelievers appearing as ridiculous caricatures, their tenets belittled rather than tackled. However the Godless Girl is rare among DeMille pictures in that it does contain a passing reference to an actual philosophical argument for the existence of God, one known as the argument from beauty. But this is rather overshadowed by DeMille's preferred method – to dazzle us with miracles. So we have cross-shaped burns appearing on Lina Basquette's hands, or Tom Keene's prayer being answered in the form of a falling electrical cable in the climactic fire sequence.

In contrast to this DeMillean theism is the thoroughly researched realism of the reformatory. Depictions of suffering and sadism do crop up quite a bit in DeMille's pictures, but they were rarely this convincing and this close to home. Particularly effective is the simplicity and relentlessness of the sequence in which Keene is tortured with a fire hose by the brutish Noah Beery. Beery is of course another caricature, but the starkness of the setting and the naturalism of the extras prevent this from becoming anything like a Sunday-school portrayal of Hebrew slaves toiling under the whip.

DeMille and MacPherson would probably not have regarded these changes in tone as inconsistent, and there is in fact one consistency in the Godless Girl that we can all appreciate – a formalist one. It's rarely noted that DeMille was a master of space and framing, and he always used his command of cinematic form to serve the story. It's natural that any competent director would depict the reformatory as Spartan and enclosed – and DeMille does that with visible ceilings, tight framing, swathes of barren grey and high angles in the yard so as not to show the sky or the outside world. However, DeMille also employs similar devices in the earlier scenes at the college. Why? Because the point of the story is that both the atheist girl and the Christian boy are close-minded and prejudiced, and DeMille's formalism is echoing this. They escape into the outside world at the same time as their convictions are beginning to soften, and DeMille takes full advantage of the outdoor setting with delicate framing, dappled lighting patterns and soft focus. It also gives him the perfect backdrop for his aforementioned argument from beauty.

The acting of the two leads is not at all bad, and for the most part tends more towards naturalism than melodrama (performances in DeMille pictures tended to go one way or the other – contradictions again!) The one moment of painful exaggeration from Lina Basquette is, unsurprisingly, in her early scene at the atheist meeting. The only sour note among the cast is comical character actor Eddie Quillan as "The Goat". In a rare display of deference to an actor DeMille apparently allowed him to improvise many of his scenes, but his style of comedy is at odds with the tone of the picture and spoils some of the deeper moments. This is not to say that Quillan had no talent, or that a picture such as this has no need of comic relief. It's simply that he is effectively a clown, and would fit better in a more light-hearted picture. Marie Prevost's sardonic sidekick actually provides much more effective comic relief.

On a final note, thanks to Filmfour we now have a very fine restored print of the Godless Girl. The score is by the unparalleled Carl Davis, and like all his work is listenable without being intrusive, and has a canny use of signature themes and classical interpolations. This new edition, occasionally shown late at night on the Filmfour channel in the UK, is well worth catching.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Sound footage? keystone_cop17
Lina and Sam Warner Tony43
The Release Date is Wrong on TCM and IMDB chapras
Last Movie diva0039
Discuss The Godless Girl (1929) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: