Outward Bound (1930)

Article #378 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 3-28-2002
Posting date: 8-21-2002

Several people find themselves the only inhabitants of an ocean liner bound for unknown parts.

This movie was adapted from a successful stage play that opened in London in 1923, and went on to international success. It’s not giving away too much to tell you that they’re all dead and heading towards their final judgment. The movie is somewhat static and talky, but for what it’s trying to do, that’s somewhat unavoidable; what saves it is the excellent script and top-notch acting. It’s essential that the characters matter to you for this to work, and they do; I find myself drawn into their worlds, their hopes, aspirations, disappointments, failures, and tribulations. Beryl Mercer, Leslie Howard, and Dudley Digges all give fine performances, but I could just as easily pick another three names. And the movie makes very good use of its few opportunities to emphasize the visuals; some of the long shots of the boat are breathtaking. Yes, it’s old, and it creaks, but it’s definitely worth a look. It was remade about fifteen years later with Sidney Greenstreet in the Dudley Digges role and Edmund Gwenn in the Alec B. Francis role.


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