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|Index||55 reviews in total|
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.
*** 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!
*** 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.
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!
**SPOILERS** Unlike most movies with similar story-lines "Between Two
Worlds" doesn't try to surprise you with a Twilight Zone-like ending
revealing the reason for the strange and eerie voyage of a number of
people on an crew-less ocean liner in the Atlantic. We know right from
the beginning that both Henry and Ann Bergner, PaulHenreid & Eleanor
Parker, killed themselves and thus were not alive when we see them next
on the ship. They seem to be the only one's who know that their dead as
well as all the other passengers on board.
All the other persons on the ghost ship were killed in the carnage of WWII and were still not aware that their dead and during the movie one by one they slowly get the massage form the ship steward, or guide, the melancholy and mysterious Scrubby, Edmund Gwenn. Scrubby keeps the passengers occupied with his cock & bull stories, that almost puts them to sleep, about being the ships steward who participated in it's many gloomy boring and countless voyages.
Besides the Bergners there's the wise cracking and sarcastic news reporter Tom Prior, John Garfield, who doesn't know it at the time as well as all through the movie ****SPOILER*** that his mom Mrs. Midget, Sara Allgood, is also one of the passengers on board. Sara is looking to make up for what she did to her son Tommy by giving him away to an American family, She and Tom are British, when he was an infant because she couldn't care for him. There's also the arrogant rude and condescending, the type of guy you'd just love to punch out, imminent and very rich crook and industrialist Mr. Lingley, George Coulouris. Mr.Lingley thinks he can buy his way out of any fix that he finds himself in but here as he soon finds out his money is as worthless as his ethics.
Rounding out the passenger list on the ship of doom are the Cliveden-Banks Benji and Genevieve, Gilbert Emery & Isobel Elsom, whom the wife Genevieve is a ruthless gold digger who had been cheating for years on her naive husband Benji. Genevieve will soon find out that, after being killed in an exploding car, Benji's finally on to her and leaves Genevieve to spend the rest of all eternity all by herself as he happily goes off to play golf and gin rummy with the boys.
There's also merchant marine Pete Musick, George Tobias, who's been torpedo's three times and, unknown to him, the third time was the last. Together with a priest Reverand Duke, Dennis King, and actress Maxie Russell ,Fay Emerson,whom both Tom and Mr. Lingley have eyes for, that make up the rest of the people on the ship.
Talky but very involving and heart-felt move as we, and the passengers, wait for the Examiner Tim Thompson the legendary "Fat Man" Sydney Greenstreet to show up and dole out the final judgment to the passengers and thus send them on their way to Heaven or the other place, based on what they did while they were still alive here on earth.
Not as preachy as you would think "Between Two Worlds" has the people on board who were, according to Tim Thompson the Examiner, the most egregious by taking their own lives ,the Bergners, given another chance to make up for their sins. The rest of the cast were more or less sent on their way to the great unknown with or without anyone accompanying them. That's what seemed to be the most extreme punishment given out by the Examiner. Mr.Lingley getting the worst of it by finding out that his money, which he can't take with him anyway, doesn't buy everything including the women he fell in love with while on board the ship Miss Maxine Russell.
In the end were told by both Thompson and Scrubby in regard to the fate of the Bergners in if they'll go or not go to the good place up there in the sky. It's with them, the Bergners, and what really happened to get them on board the ship that we get the big surprise ending in the Movie.
The film's synopsis is explained elsewhere so I will comment on it's efficacy. The film is an accurate comment on the true nature of God, the Prophets and Jesus' primary focus, which, to the detriment of the Neo-con twisted philosophy, which shows itself as anathema, is not sexual behavior. During the "New World Order's" last incarnation as fascism and it's newest as the so-called Christian Right which is neither Christian nor Right, the aggrandizement of avarice, selfishness. self-service, self-promotion, deceitful self-enrichment of the senses and silos overflowing, are the real evil, not sexual behavior, as Jesus pointed out so well in the Story of the rich man and Lazarus at his Gate and other stories of the evils of greed, and in the story Samaritan Woman at Jacob's well. The film shows that greed, cheating the poor, cruelly exhibiting raw power and running amok with avarice as exhibited in the present world situation, is the major evil in the world, and that apparent pillars of society are more often the enemy than those seeming in the gutter. In these excellent interpretations of the Old and New Testament's true philosophies exemplified by Jesus' admonition, "Whores, thieves and worse shall enter the kingdom of God before hypocrites and greedy power mongers!" The producers exhibited a keen understanding of the nature of God. It was true then, before then, and ever so true now in an era of glorifying tear downs, Gated Homeowners Associations to avert the Constitution, torturing prisoners and murdering innocents, as well as destroying the only thing that separated us from the beasts, our Constitution and Bill of Rights. In the theological sense the film should be shown weekly at the Vatican and the White House to remind them of their obligations to the poor, disenfranchised and the invalided. Professor Emeritus Pete Bagnolo
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Between Two Worlds" is a remake of "Outward Bound" (1930), about a
group of people aboard a fog-shrouded and otherwise-empty ship,
seemingly sailing to nowhere. Paul Henreid and Eleanor Parker are
lovers, John Garfield is a brash reporter, George Coulouris is a
pompous and wealthy English industrialist, Faye Emerson is a
gold-digging party girl, and George Tobias is a modest sailor in the
Merchant Marine. They are joined by a society couple, a matronly older
woman, and a priest. Many of the people find themselves on the ship
after their car was nearly bombed during a WWII air raid, while Parker
and Henreid have just attempted suicide via gas in an apartment.
The ship's steward is Scrubby (Edmund Gwenn), who quietly makes everyone feel at home. Parker and Henreid's characters discover that the ship's passengers are actually dead, and are awaiting judgment from a mysterious person called "The Examiner". All of the passengers soon find out the truth, and nervously await the arrival of The Examiner, who soon walks through the doorin the rotund, massive form of Sydney Greenstreet! Taking the deceased priest as a trainee, Greenstreet judges each person one by one, and sends them to their respective fates, depending on how honorably they had lived their lives. All are judged except Parker and Henreid, who find that because they committed suicide, they are doomed to sail on the ship forever. The movie ends with Parker searching the ship for Henreid, hearing the sound of breaking glass, and suddenly waking up with Henreid, both of them quite alive.
This is quite a heavy message movie, and is kept interesting by the charisma of the cast. In particular, Garfield, Coulouris, Gwenn, Tobias, and Greenstreet turn in convincing and at times poignant performances. In contrast, Parker and Henreid just look frightened the whole time, begging to stay together, while Emerson is not given enough screen time. I really enjoy the movie as a glimpse at people who know they are dead and are about to be judged by the highest authority, with generally fine acting and an intelligent story. However, the contrived "happy" ending seems completely out of place, and I think it really ends the movie on a false note. Not classic 1940s Hollywood, but pretty good on its own terms.
Originally this movie was from the Broadway show, "Outward Bound."
A group of passengers miss their boat to America, as the car they are riding in is bombed in England. We have an assortment of characters here who are then transported to a boat that will make its final destination for them either to heaven or the world below. Also among them are Paul Henried and Eleanor Parker, a married couple who committed suicide when he couldn't gain access to the boat.
The passengers are unaware at the beginning of their deaths. In a way this is silly since they are the only people on board along with a steward who is nicely played by Edmund Gwenn.
The movie really begins to take off when the passengers discover their fate and will be examined by the likes of Sydney Greenstreet, who is far from his usual evil ways.
The evil here belongs to George Coulouris as a sinister businessman. He stepped on others to get ahead in life and Isabel Elsom, as a wealthy dowager, immersed in selfishness and a life of unfaithfulness to a faithful husband. Other passengers include John Garfield, wise-cracking as ever who is ready to take what his fate has in store for him. George Tobias who survived everything but this and whose death will deny him the pleasure of seeing his wife and beloved daughter as well as Sara Allgood, a plain woman looking for a cottage and who will be willing to take care of the Garfield character as well. You'll shed a tear when you find out why.
When everyone meets their fate, the picture then turns back to Henried and Parker. Miss Parker has often been accused of having the ability to over-act and this picture is no exception.
A story of personifying virtue and sin and the possible redemption for others. A great cast puts it over as this film is memorable.
I haven't seen this movie for years,first saw it on TV. A thought-provoking fantasy with memorable acting talent all around. Sydney Greenstreet makes a very convincing heavenly "judge" and the movie addresses several individual human and moral situations which are dealt with satisfactorily, all the while implying that we make our own destiny. I hope this movie will someday some to VHS or DVD.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the sort of film that probably makes many religious leaders
have strokes, but if you ignore the silly religious message of the
movie and just turn off your brain you'll enjoy yourself.
It seems that the Gospel According to Warner Brothers tells us that after we die, we go on a long sea voyage that ultimately culminates in a sort of judgement day. During the course of this long voyage, the dead have no idea they are in fact dead and go about acting like the sort of people they were in life--with John Garfield acting like a hood (big surprise there), an overbearing old bat remaining true to form, a selfish industrialist who thinks he's better than everyone else and complains that his accommodations are inferior, etc. The plot twist that they are all actually dead, though intended as a surprise twist, wasn't all that big a surprise to viewers but the acting and writing were so good that this didn't seem to matter. And that brings me to why this is such a good film--a silly plot but with writing and acting so good you can't help but like the film! This movie reminds me of the equally strange film about death from MGM entitled On Borrowed Time. I think this film was better than Between Two Worlds, but both are well worth watching.
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