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Between Two Worlds More at IMDbPro »

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They Make Their Own Heaven And Hell On Earth

8/10
Author: ArchAngel Michael from Quis Ut Deus?
18 March 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers Ahead:

First: This will be a sociological review, if you want a review of the narrative I refer you to the other reviewers around this one. Second: It simply is impossible for me to review this well without giving things away; if you wish to be surprised, skip this review. SPOILERS AHEAD: Movies are snapshots of their zeitgeist, preserved forever like insects encased in amber. For people who are Christian, or raised as Christians, like your author, the first thing that will distress you is who they picked to be the inquisitor. Sydney Greenstreet, while an excellent actor, is in violation of one of the seven deadly sins: Gluttony. They try to attenuate this by having him make a remark of how diets never helped him, but, the image remains. When you watch this, you will see who is singled out for the two most horrible punishments: the industrialist and promiscuous women. Mr. Lingley is treated as Satan incarnate, by the inquisitor, who is barely able to contain his contempt for him. Young people, who have lives not inside of books, will not know that after WW1, there were panels in which the industrialists, who had made fortunes on inflated war production costs, were held up to public calumny. You see this here, notice Greenstreet's language towards Lingley,"The way you ran it was like common thuggery. You must suffer as much as you made others suffer."

The two promiscuous women, the young actress and the society woman, both suffer dreadful fates. We hear,"You murdered yourself," spoken to the actress as a valediction. The older woman's fate is truly like a Twilight Zone horror ending. What you are seeing is the norm against infidelity within this zeitgeist. The others fare better with the most unlikely of happy endings for those of us aware of 'shore leave' for sailors. I gave the movie an eight for: its creepy sets, the mystery unraveling for the oblivious passengers with little clues leading to the revelation about halfway through. Garfield owns this movie, as he does with so many others, he steals every scene he is in, even the ones with Greenstreet. There are many twists, turns and surprises hidden among the passengers that I have not touched upon. My header is spoken by Greenstreet echoing the old mantra: Goodness is its own reward and evil its own punishment. You will also see the strength of the sanction against suicide shown here by the dreadful fate that awaits those who chose that path in life.

The movie spends but ten minutes in the 'real world' before we are on the ship enshrouded in creepy fog. The industrialist is delineated as a truly loathsome criminal forever throwing money about; it was neck and neck for my audience between him and the snobby society lady who looks down on everyone. I also gave it an eight for dealing with death and the afterlife which was done only by a handful of brave movies. The passengers soon notice that the ship is only occupied by themselves and one ship's worker: the steward. A great philosophical truth is hidden here: when humans are presented with a truth that they do not wish to see, they will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid seeing the obvious. Here, the sailor senses the truth but flees into activities to hide, from his consciousness, what is before him. Modern viewers will object to the sanctions upon promiscuity which now are viewed as anachronistic. My favorite line was the doomed actress, as she walks away,"If only I could return to that little girl I once was." The mystery of the movie will keep your interest, it is truly, one of a kind. The level of the acting and writing, with clever surprises, is why I own it. I also love when Greenstreet says to the industrialist,"Where are all those things you owned? You held them for a twinkling of an eye, a moment, that is what you did all that evil for." A refreshing work of anti-materialism, with the industrialist as evil incarnate, may have biased me for the movie. A One Of A Kind Movie. Q.E.D.

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BTW Excellent Choice

10/10
Author: clvlkenpo from United States
12 February 2017

First saw this film as a child on Bill Kennedy at the movies in Detroit. I thought it was so cool at the time, and spooky. I loved the acting and many of the character actors I had recognized from so many other films of that era. And the ending was so great because I didn't see it coming and I was such a romantic that I couldn't stand that the two main characters would be apart since she had done nothing wrong but out of love for him. A great screenplay! Ever since I have always preferred films from the 30s and 40s over today's offerings. They always gave the actors time on screen to develop the characters and events. This film is one of the reasons I grew up loving movies!!

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A remake of Outward Bound (1930), this fantasy drama is worth a look

7/10
Author: jacobs-greenwood from United States
7 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Based on Sutton Vane's play, directed by Edward A. Blatt, with a screenplay by Daniel Fuchs, this above average fantasy drama features an all star cast which includes John Garfield, Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet, Eleanor Parker, Edmund Gwenn, George Tobias, George Coulouris, Faye Emerson, Sara Allgood, Dennis King, Isobel Elsom, and Gilbert Emery. It's about a number of people on a cruise ship that eventually discover it's their transportation to another world, e.g. Heaven or Hell.

Cynical foreign correspondent Tom Prior (Garfield) and his girlfriend "yet to make it" actress Maxine Russell (Faye Emerson), along with Merchant Marine Pete Musick (Tobias), Reverend Duke (King), Mrs. Midget (Allgood), and the wealthy Mr. & Mrs. Cliveden- Banks (Emery & Elsom) wait for the all clear in World War II ravaged London so that they can board their cruise ship for safe passage to America. Famous opportunistic wartime businessman Lingley (Coulouris) arrives at the terminal, angry that there are no seats for his bodyguards to accompany him on the voyage. Failed pianist Henry Bergner (Henreid) is upset that he cannot get a ticket at all, so he leaves to return to his apartment. Just as an air raid begins, and the passengers are loaded into a bus, Bergner's wife Ann (Parker) rushes to its window, calling Henry's name. But he is not inside, and as the bus pulls away, Ann witnesses it being hit by a bomb. She returns home to find her distraught husband; he'd tried to leave her, ashamed of his own failures, so that she might find happiness without him. She discovers that he's sealed the windows and extinguished the heater's pilot light, so that the room is filling with gas, in order to commit suicide. He pleads with her to leave him, but she refuses to go.

The Bergners find themselves walking on the deck of a fog shrouded cruise ship. It takes them a moment, but they realize that they are dead when Ann sees the passengers from the bus through a window. The other passengers, other than noticing the dearth of other passengers or any more than one crewman, the bartender Scrubby (Gwenn), are blissfully unaware that they too are dead. Scrubby informs them that they are on their way to another world, their afterlife. He then instructs the Bergners not to inform the other passengers of this fact either, that it's better if they find out in their own time, that the Bergners know only because they died by their own hand(s). The sharp, quick tongued Prior is the first to discover it, but he too is asked by Scrubby, and then Henry (who Scrubby had asked to help him), not to reveal it. Prior is only too happy to keep the secret, and his primary joy seems to be derived from heckling Lingley, who he'd written about and exposed through his writing in "the first world". However, eventually he can no longer resist the temptation, and he delights in telling "his" secret theatrically.

Naturally, each of the passengers has his or her own regrets about the lives they've led or where they were headed before they were killed. Unfortunately for actress Russell, she was heading for her first big chance, a USO tour of the United States, after having made bad choices (e.g. with men) earlier in her career. The Reverend too was making his first big venture, and trip outside of his village, to spread the word of God. Merchant Marine Musick, after surviving three torpedoed boats, was returning home to see his child for the very first time. Lingley insists he has no regrets, though he'd tried to seduce Russell and hire Henry as a bodyguard, and attempts to buy his way out of this fate. Scrubby, who provides a calming influence for everyone, informs him that he cannot escape his destiny and keeps the ship firmly on schedule until the white suited Reverend Tim Thompson (Greenstreet) arrives.

Reverend Thompson, who was known by Reverend Duke in the other world, is the Examiner - judgment day has arrived for the ship's passengers. Greenstreet, like Gwenn, plays his other worldly role to perfection. One by one the passengers are relegated to Heaven or Hell, though those terms are never used. Instead, an indication as to whether they will be going to a paradise or another "place" to account for their sins is strongly suggested. It is then learned that the arrogant, class-conscious Mrs. Cliveden-Banks was cheating on her husband, assuming all along that he didn't know and therefore, since she wasn't hurting him, it was alright. The Examiner, and then Mr. Cliveden- Banks, informs her otherwise. Everyone else, after a their brief meeting, exits on their way to where one would expect until it's Prior's turn.

Prior is saved by Mrs. Midget, who agrees to take care of him and be a good influence, enabling him to begin again as the little boy with big dreams of his future. After he's "left", it is revealed that Mrs. Midget was Prior's birth mother, unable to care for him, she'd had to give him up for adoption such that he never had her mothering influence before, but now will. Henry Bergner will have to stay with Scrubby, also a suicide, to serve future passengers on this ship or one of the many others. Scrubby urges Reverend Thompson to take Ann with him, that she shouldn't be made to stay because it was her love that led her to the fate that her husband had chosen. Henry pleads with Ann to leave, but she will not go. So the happy ending almost anyone could see coming is delivered - the breaking glass Henry keeps hearing is shown to be the window of their apartment, which let the gas escape as fresh air rushes in, so that Henry awakes and revives Ann - and they live happily ever after ... in London!

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Souls at sea

8/10
Author: tomsview from Sydney, Australia
9 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have seen this film on and off over the years starting probably around 1960 when it first appeared on Australian television.

During World War Two, a small group of people sailing on a passenger liner from London find they are heading for an unexpected destination.

This film was made during the war. With the world in arms, audiences of the day would have been only too aware of the imminence of death, if not for themselves then for the ones they loved. I think this film would really have hit home, possibly in a reassuring way in as much as the film accepts that there is life beyond death.

There were a number of films made during the war or shortly after that dealt with death and beyond: "Here Comes Mr. Jordan", "A Guy Named Joe", A Matter Of Life And Death" and "The Horn Blows at Midnight". But "Between Two Worlds" was the most serious of them all. It delivered reassurance of an afterlife, but its premise was that a worthy life is essential for an easy transit to the next world – the quality that all religions from the ancient Egyptians onward stress more than anything else.

Completely studio bound whether on land or at sea, the film shows the influence of the 1923 stage play on which it is based. But that foggy, claustrophobic atmosphere gives the film a mood that is sustained from beginning to end.

"Between Two Worlds" features a couple of iconic stars: John Garfield and Sydney Greenstreet. Both give minor variations on their familiar screen personas – Garfield the cynical, street-wise guy whose luck always seemed to be out, and Greenstreet whose rotund affability always masked a deeper agenda.

However Paul Henreid and Eleanor Parker give the most effecting performances as Henry and Ann Bergner. There are many lump-in-the-throat moments in the film, but the Bergner's doomed love affair and redemption is an emotional roller coaster.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold only produced 18 film scores in his career, and his work for "Between Two Worlds" was his personal favourite. This sumptuous, soaring score with its chimes and echoing notes cements the film together and directs the mood.

"Between Two Worlds" is a unique film. Thankfully, in Australia, we still have programs like "Bill Collins Golden Years of Hollywood" and "Turner Classic Movies" otherwise movies such as this would disappear from our screens all altogether.

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From Here to Eternity Part Deux

7/10
Author: GeoPierpont from Los Angeles, CA
13 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this twice in a row to insure I did not miss any dialog that connected the dots for meaningful scenes. I never do this but gladly watched this with the same anticipation and wonderment at the script.

These old films are many times a complete crap shoot when it comes to enchantment, entertainment, and food for thought. This delivered on all three aspects. I had issues with several touch points but overall a stellar production.

Having just lost my closest friend to suicide I imagine I searched for meaning more so than other viewers and found even the tritest detail compelling.

Sidney, always larger than life, seems to have just left his body from Casablanca in yet another exotic yet powerful costume sans fez. Always a scene stealer with an atypical calm and peaceful posture.

This film does make you wonder what the heck happens when you expire. Have you ever talked to someone who is a non-believer atheist who has an NDE (Near Death Experience)? They make it sound like they can't wait to kick and wish they had the cajones to make it happen pronto! Listen to Dannion Brinkley much? Yep!

I believe there is no Hell no matter what type of life you lived here on Earth. There is always some sad tormented story that led folks on a path to destruction and if we are supposed to forgive our enemies, then why would God have any notion of Hell?? Makes absolutely no sense, and that means Hitler, Stalin, Mother Teresa, etc.

What bothers me about others who have 'contact' with the 'other side' keep yacking about how great everything is and they don't miss you one teensy bit. I call crapola! If God is compassionate and full of emotion, those in Heaven have such a limited experience?? I call, well you know what...arghhh!

The sets are truly dreary and uncomfortable and everyone, even the priest, is at odds with the process. That was surprising. The sole heartwarming moment when mother and son are reunited provided the most promising aspect of the afterlife.

High recommend for some unexpected dialog, plot, acting and surprise ending. Garfield was great but Greenstreet...superb!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Thought Provoking Obscurity

7/10
Author: Cicerosaurus from Brisbane, Australia
26 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Several people are killed on their way to board a liner for America during WW II. They are joined by another couple and the steward of the ship, and the movie centres around these people as they gradually come to the realisation that they are indeed no longer alive. This happens to them at various times, with one couple aware very early on, due to the circumstances of their death. The acting is very good- Sydney Greenstreet is suitably overbearing as The Examiner. However, I did find John Garfield grating, and his character totally unlikeable. Edmund Gwenn was his normal gnome like self and Elenoar Parker (she with the lovely voice) suitably noble.

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

"What are you talking about?"

5/10
Author: aa56 from USA
27 September 2005

For the first 90 minutes of this motion picture, it seems one hears that line of dialog every five minutes, and it grows to be irritating quickly. The last 20 minutes are the most interesting in this talky film with a very low budget for set decoration. The writers offer interesting thoughts on a sort of judgment day, which, of course, are not consistent with any religious doctrine.

The script could have used a much more suspenseful build up to the climax. Instead, it slogs through tedium mingled with that obnoxious "What are you talking about" line spoken every five minutes, or so it seems.

The cast is superb, doing the best they can with this script. John Garfield is in typical form. Eleanor Parker is radiant as the devoted wife Ann. Faye Emerson shines as the hardboiled actress.

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7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Trite, but Somewhat True

5/10
Author: ElenaP-3 from United States
8 March 2005

I happened to catch this the other day on Turner Classic Movies. It had some terrific major talent - John Garfield, Sydney Greenstreet, Paul Henreid, Edmund Gwenn, as well as some lesser lights in the acting world. I didn't know that this was a remake of an earlier version. It left me wondering whether or not this was ever a stage play, because it played as terribly theatrical and over-dramatic; rather creaky, really. It is lesson in morality, of course, and the things we supposedly take for granted in this life, but seems thrust at the audience so amateurishly. It is a curio from the best period for Warner Brothers, but not something I'd go out of my way to recommend.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Slow paced but imaginative

8/10
Author: drystyx from United States
4 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A group of people fleeing a bomb raid during World War II find themselves on a boat.

Very early on, they find they never escaped the bombing raid. There is a bit of mystery, but I don't think it's a spoiler to reveal that this. There is some denial at this, but even more denial of what the next world brings.

A caretaker figure hosts them on the boat, and prepares them for what is next. The characters are surprised that it isn't nearly as ominous or as magnificent as they thought. Instead, there is an imaginative view of the afterlife which neither placates nor attacks any religion, though it may antagonize the staunchest of fundamentalists in any religion.

What we're given is what Rod Serling would have given us years later, only in a condensed, more fluid form.

The story is good and imaginative, but hard to carry for more than the length of a Twilight Zone episode and keep our interest. Thus, it is pretty slow paced, a bit melodramatic, but the characters are very three dimensional and adult.

A good story, well told, except for the slow pace, but that just makes it better viewing for those who don't stop a movie when they leave the room. Good viewing for while you are doing something else.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Pretty Darn Good

7/10
Author: PresidentForLife from United States
4 March 2010

I stumbled upon this film on TCM and found it engrossing enough to watch all the way through. It is a bit "talky," but that's what you want in a play, after all, so long as it's not boring!

Unlike some other reviewers, I found the music track intrusive and distracting and feel the movie would have worked more effectively without it, letting the words create their own "music," so to speak.

The performances are serviceable all around, with perhaps Edmund Gwenn the standout, as some have noted. I also enjoyed the "surprise ending," sort of a unique twist in this genre of "we're not-quite-dead" tales.

In any event, the next time this one comes around, I recommend it!

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