Whom the Gods Destroy (1934)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 75 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Inspired by the Titanic tragedy, Whom the Gods Destroy is a tour de force for character actor Walter Connolly. The star is cast as theatrical entrepreneur John Forrester, who finds himself on board an ocean liner crippled in a shipwreck. At first he behaves courageously, but as the ship goes down Forrester panics and dons women's clothes to ensure himself a seat on the lifeboat. Rescued at sea, he hides out in a tiny fishing village for several years, then returns to New York under an assumed name. Upon discovering that he is celebrated as a "dead" hero, Forrester realizes that he can never reveal his true identity lest he be exposed as a craven coward. Standing on the sidelines, he watches as his son Jack (Robert Young) rises to success on the Broadway stage, all the while secretly helping the boy get ahead in his career. Forrester's wife Margaret (Doris Kenyon) finally recognizes her husband, forgives him, and offers to take him back, but by now Forrester himself feels it is too late and retreats into the shadows, never to be seen again.

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Keywords

shipwreck, boating, bum, courage, coward, death, family, grief, hero, humiliation, sea, sea-disaster, survivor