|OUTWARD BOUND (director: Robert Milton; screenwriter: play by Sutton Vane /J. Grubb Alexander; cinematographer: Hal Mohr; editor: Ralph Dawson; music: Erno Rapee/Louis Silvers; cast: Leslie Howard (Tom Prior), Alice Skipworth (Mrs. Cliveden-Banks), Beryl Mercer (Mrs. Midget), Helen Chandler (Ann), Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (Henry), Dudley Digges (Thompson), Alec Francis (Scrubby), Montagu Love (Mr. Lingley), Lyonel Watts (Rev. William Duke); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jack L. Warner; Warner Bros.; 1930)|
by Dennis Schwartz
strange supernatural drama about
diverse passengers aboard a ship heading to an
unknown destination. Unfortunately it shows its
age when seen in the present. The pace is languid,
the acting stilted and the dialogue is archaic.
Film historians rave about its technical advances
for its time, with splendid otherworldly
photography and the excellent use of lighting to
set an eerie foggy mood. It's based on the
hit 1924 Broadway play by Sutton-Vane,
which the previous year opened in London.
J. Grubb Alexander handles the
screenplay and Robert Milton ("Devotion"/"The
Luck of a Sailor"/"Bella Donna") directs. It's also
known as the film that started Leslie
Howard's splendid Hollywood career.
lovers Ann (Helen Chandler) and Henry (Douglas
fail to commit suicide because their pet dog breaks a
window preventing them from suffocating. They then
find themselves as perhaps the only living passengers
on a ghost ship, with no captain, going nowhere (the
destination might be purgatory).
(Dudley Digges) is the Examiner,
who plays god. He controls the fates of all the
passengers that he sends to either Heaven or Hell.
Howard, gives the film's best performance, as he
assumes a different role from his stage role of Henry.
Here he's cast as an alcoholic who meets on the voyage
his mother. He's also the first passenger
to discover the truth of the voyage's purpose. Beryl
Mercer was also in the stage version, and here
plays a passenger concerned about her son.
superior version was remade in 1944, Between Two
Worlds, and in 1961 another version, The Flight That
Disappeared, which I haven't seen. Serling's Twilight
Zone stories on TV have nothing on weirdness when
compared to Outward Bound.
REVIEWED ON 3/21/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ