A famous theatrical impresario acts heroically when the ship he is traveling on sinks. He saves many lives, but at the last minute saves his own by an act of cowardice. When he returns at ... See full summary »
A famous theatrical impresario acts heroically when the ship he is traveling on sinks. He saves many lives, but at the last minute saves his own by an act of cowardice. When he returns at last to his home, he learns that he is believed to be heroically dead, and that revealing his return will also reveal his cowardice. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
One of the gaps in my movie viewing has always been Columbia films of the 1930s. Fortunately, some of these titles are now starting to appear on DVD, and none was more welcome than Walter Lang's "Whom the Gods Destroy". Superbly edited by longtime Columbia contractee Viola Lawrence in a style obviously influenced by contemporary Russian and avant garde and featuring an astonishing "Titanic" scene in which lavish studio footage is cleverly intercut with stock material from E.A. Dupont's "Atlantik" (1929), "Whom the Gods Destroy" is one of the few films to indelibly brand its hero a coward. The only other one I can call to mind is John Huston's equally powerful "Red Badge of Courage" (1951) (which at present is available on a most disappointing DVD which contains only the familiar 69-minute cutdown and not so much as a single foot of the shelved scenes). In "Whom the Gods Destroy", the hero's cowardice is even more despicable, although three or four minutes have been censored from the shipboard and beach scenes in the 2009 DVD, considerably lessening their impact. Nonetheless, Walter Connolly acquits himself with honor, while young Robert Young is luckily called upon to be inadequate which he is!
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