Godless Men (1921)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Drama  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The crusty Russell Simpson and villainous James Mason portray a particularly evil father and son team in this intense sea tale, based on the novel, Black Pawl, by Ben Ames Williams. Black Pawl (Simpson) is an atheistic pirate who is headed to the States. In a foreign port, his son, Red -- who Black has taught to be as nasty and mean-spirited as he is -- finds the Reverend Sam Poor (Alec B. Francis) and pretty Ruth Lytton (Helene Chadwick). He brings them to Black, who agrees to give them passage, mainly because he is strangely drawn to Ruth. The ship's second mate, Dan Darrin (John Bowers), falls in love with Ruth, which angers the Pawls, since they both want to possess her. Black reveals to Reverend Poor the reason for his godless views: His wife deserted him while he was off on a voyage and he has hated humankind ever since. After battling a fierce storm, Black is exhausted and Ruth selflessly offers to tend to him. He tries to use this as an opportunity to attack her, but then he recognizes her locket. Inside is a photo of his wife -- Ruth is his long-lost daughter. This realization brings out his latent good side, and he goes to Red to offer him the run of his ship. Red's response is to sneer that his old man can no longer keep up with its care. Black realizes that he raised his son in his own evil spirit too well and the men argue. Red stabs his father, but before he dies, Black kills Red, believing that he is too wicked to live. This leaves Ruth and Darrin free to be together.

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Keywords

bitterness, daughter, father, love, love-triangle, mother, native, rival, sailor, son