Jim Carter moves in on the McWade's carnival concession which shows scenes from Dante's "Inferno". He makes it a going concern, marrying Betty along the way. An inspector calls the ... See full summary »
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Charles C. Coleman
Jim Carter moves in on the McWade's carnival concession which shows scenes from Dante's "Inferno". He makes it a going concern, marrying Betty along the way. An inspector calls the amusement pier unsafe but Carter bribes him. The pier collapses, leading to the inspector's suicide, injury to Pop McWade, trial for Carter, and Betty's leaving him. Carter starts over with an unsafe floating casino. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There is no denying that Dante Alighieri is not only a major literary figure of Italy's Renaissance, but one of the world's greatest poets. Actually he left many poems in his works, especially regarding the forbidden love of his life Beatrice, but the poem most associated with him is a 33 canto poem entitled INFERNO. Most people don't realize it is actually the first third of a larger book of poetry called THE DIVINE COMEDY. Dante wrote three sections of this book, in which he, a traveller, is escorted by the ghost of the Latin poet Virgil through the nine levels of Hell, then into purgatory, and finally into paradise. The conclusion of the poem is when Dante is able to see the grandeur and beauty of God's love, which is the ultimate position at the top of the universe's order. Although Purgatory and Paradise have moments of exceptional power in them, they are less exciting than the human tragedies that make up the cantos of The INFERNO. What story about redemption or love can compete with the hideous doom of Count Ugolino of Pisa and his children, condemned to starve to death by a political enemy (Ugolino had betrayed the enemy, once a friend of his). The punishment is very gruesome - Ugolino is forever hungry for his crimes, and is gnawing at the brain of his political foe forever as a result.
Nothing quite that gaudy here - The central figure (Tracy) begins as a stoker, but slowely rises in the world, frequently not realizing that his greed and drive have alienated friends and relatives. The source of his wealth is the carnival and gambling empire he has put together. In the course of building it he meets Henry Walthall, who wants to build a midway building that shows Dante's Inferno - Walthall believes it will be beneficial to the public as it will show the public the dangerous ice they are on if they continue to sin. Of course this is the screenwriter's take on Dante's Divine Comedy, and the Inferno in particular - actually Dante is far too clever a poet to have such a trivial motive in the actual work for writing it that way.
That Tracy is saved in the end is due to heeding the wisdom of his friend (later his father-in-law)and due to a sea tragedy - Tracy's latest addition to his empire is a gambling ship, which catches fire off the coast of the U.S., and requires Tracy's leadership qualities to save the passengers and crew. A suitable fiery conclusion to the film - and also an historic footnote: the boat is made to resemble the ill-fated Morro Castle, which burned in a fire in 1934 (the year before this film) off the coast of New Jersey, killing 130 passengers and crew. As such, this is the sole movie I know of that refers to that disaster, except for a line of dialogue in the contemporary satiric comedy BOY MEETS GIRL.
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