Mills of the Gods (1935)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 67 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Janiss Garza

After her success in Lady for a Day, elderly character actress May Robson was starred in a number of features. She's wonderfully irascible in this depression-era drama as widow Mary Hastings, who has been running the family steel business since the death of her husband forty years before. Her children, Willard (Raymond Walburn) and Henrietta (Josephine Whittell), have been disappointments to her, and the grandchildren she raised after the death of their father, are even more spoiled and selfish. Nobody seems capable of taking over the concern, but she retires anyway, leaving it in the hands of the board of directors. Then Black Tuesday comes, the stock market crashes, and one by one, all the mills are shut down. The workers are on the verge of seeing their families starve. Mrs. Hastings, determined to help them out, calls all her relatives from Europe and begs them to release some of the 40 million dollar trust fund to keep the local mill going. But the greedy family members refuse. On her own Mrs. Hastings scrapes together enough of her own funds to keep the mill open. Meanwhile, Willard -- unaware of his mother's actions -- closes the mill and calls on the cops to squelch any unrest. Granddaughter Jean (Fay Wray), however, comes to her senses when she helps hide labor leader Jim Devlin (Victor Jory) from the police. After spending the night with Jory in his hideaway, she returns and convinces her brother to override their uncle and aunt and help the mill. The workers, furious over Willard's lies, are ready to storm the plant, and the cops are prepared to shoot them. Jean risks her life by heading for the mill, but it is her brother, who has gone after her, who is killed by police gun fire. While the rest of the family returns to Europe, Jean stays behind with her grandmother. Although Devlin has pointed out to Jean that their romance is impossible, he leaves a small window of hope open for the future. This feature, released by Columbia, was incredibly progressive for its day.



business, death, family-business, grandson, riot [uprising], romance, stock-market-crash, widow/widower