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I've just recently had the pleasure of seeing this film, which is virtually unknown, and it's one of the finest films I've seen this year. Veteran character actor Walter connolly, a familiar face but not a well known name, gives a tour-de-force understated performance in this tasteful soaper....The film includes several of the most beautiful image montages ever assembled...a lost classic worthy of renewed interest!
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!
I saw "Shipwreck" in Radio City Music Hall in 1934 (when I was 7). I especially enjoyed seeing Robert Young for perhaps the first time. I don't recall the semi-happy ending noted in your Summary. Instead, I thought the Walter Connolly character died in his son's office after his wife recognized him. (Maybe I anticipated that ending later on in "Tomorrow Is Forever.") Did time play tricks on me? I erroneously believed that the female lead was Ann Harding, only to find in IMDb that it was lookalike Doris Kenyon. I especially recall the lifeboat scramble and the beatings Connolly received in Newfoundland when his fellow passengers and the locals discovered he had disguised himself as a woman by placing a ladies fur coat over his head.
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