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Outward Bound

(1930 b 83')

En: 5 Ed: 7

Based on Sutton Vane's 1923 play, passengers on a ship learn they have died and face an examination, except for two who attempted suicide.

Near London Henry (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and Ann (Helen Chandler) say good-bye to their dog and plan to be together at 12 forever. They board a ship. Tom Prior (Leslie Howard) asks the steward Scrubby (Alec B. Francis) for a drink and greets Mrs. Cliveden-Banks (Alice Skipworth). Mr. Lingley (Montagu Love) boards just as the ship sails. Lingley fired Prior, and Prior calls him names. Lingley feels ill. Prior tells the priest William Duke (Lyonel Watts) how others expect to meet someone but don't know where they are going. Henry asks Ann if they sinned; he did not turn off the gas. She says they agreed. Prior asks Scrubby if they are all dead. He says yes, but most don't know it yet. Scrubby says he was "lost young," and they are sailing for heaven and hell. Mrs. Midget (Beryl Mercer) wonders about her son. Prior says they are trapped and dead, that there is no crew but the steward. Duke finds no lights on deck.

Scrubby tells them they are dead and that Lingley can't get out until the examination. Henry is afraid the examiner might separate him and Ann. Scrubby announces land is sighted and says the examiner knows all. Prior asks Duke to pray. The examiner Thompson (Dudley Digges) greets Duke and has him assist him. Thompson calls in Lingley, who is proud of what he built up. Thompson calls him dishonest and says he will suffer as he made others suffer. Thompson has no information on the young couple and won't see "halfways." Thompson tells Mrs. Cliveden-Banks her husband is waiting for her, saying she will learn to be a good wife. Prior wants to completely dead; but Mrs. Midget comes in to help. Thompson says she has a nice cottage; but Prior can't go to that level yet. She asks to go with Prior. Prior says he is not worth bothering about, but Thompson commends his humility. Thompson won't tell Prior that Mrs. Midget is his mother.

Duke asks Thompson to see Henry and Ann; but he says not yet. Henry and Ann sail again and comfort each other. Henry hears their dog. Scrubby tells them that half-ways go back and forth, because they lacked the courage to face life. Ann asks Scrubby why people aren't more kind. Henry had not been able to get a divorce, and Ann learns he has gone back to the living. She calls to Henry, and he comes back to get her. In the final scene London people rescue both of them because of their dog.

This spiritual story offers many insights into the experiences that follow death when souls face the consequences of their lives. Suicides have run away from life and have to wait for their judgment day.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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