Quasi-Operatic Quality Together With Strong Dramatic Performances Result In An Outstanding Melodrama.
Alpha Home Entertainment has provided a worthwhile service to cinéastes with its release of this seldom-seen film that belongs to the genre of Forgotten Cinema, a well-handled and dramatically constructed mood piece that offers an absorbing scenario, above standard playing, and splendid footage of North Atlantic whale hunting with small boats. Tommy Ashley (Stanley Morner) makes good use of his strong right arm to clear advantage, being the most skilled harpooner of the Newfoundland fishing village wherein he resides with his august minister father Caleb (George Cleveland), along with his mother and brother Leonard (Douglas Walton) while taking steps to wed beautiful Rosita (Steffi Duna) who is from a local Portuguese settlement. However, he may not have an unencumbered claim upon Rosita's heart as she has not yet made a choice between Tommy and his brother, this creating tension amid the three in addition to a feeling of suspense for a viewer, since both men are of high moral character. While relentlessly in pursuit of a breaching whale as part of an attacking long boat crew, Tommy's right arm is torn away, but this dire mishap does not end his duties as a harpooner because he immediately after trains himself to throw accurately with his left, this achievement raising his spirits enormously; but, will his handicap affect Rosita's selection of a mate? A couple of back stories appear within the scenario, one involving bias against Portuguese immigrants, another of a boatmate of Tommy who wishes to succeed the now one-armed man as harpooner, but neither is treated in an elaborate manner, while an unusually perceptive depiction of the romantic contest waged among the love triangle members is correctly placed to the fore. There is a grim tone to the work that quite neatly adds to its operatic essence, with several vocal episodes featuring musical drama schooled tenor Morner (later to be known as Dennis Morgan during his years working for Warner Brothers), and a pleasing solo dance offered by Duna (who had performed with the Budapest Opera before her film career began) as she prepares for her espousal announcement. Perhaps the most singular design for a house of worship in all of cinematic history is the whaling muralled chapel interior created here by art director F. Paul Sylos, that includes a long boat pulpit! Morner/Morgan easily wins the acting honors with his strong turn that helps define the script's romantic ingredients for a well-directed film that profits from a nicely balanced storyline, therewith marking its distinct divergence from hackneyed tales that are a hallmark of the greatest portion of its feature film contemporaries.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?