Outward Bound (film)

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Outward Bound
Outward Bound 1930 Title Card.jpg
Directed by Robert Milton
Written by Sutton Vane (play)
J. Grubb Alexander
Starring Leslie Howard
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Helen Chandler
Beryl Mercer
Dudley Digges
Alec B. Francis
Cinematography Hal Mohr
Distributed by Warner Brothers
Release date(s) November 29, 1930
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Outward Bound (1930) is an all-talking dramatic film based on the hit 1923 play of the same name by Sutton Vane. The film stars Leslie Howard, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Helen Chandler, Beryl Mercer, Montagu Love, Alison Skipworth, Alec B. Francis, and Dudley Digges. The film was later remade, with some changes, as Between Two Worlds (1944).


As the film begins we find Henry and Ann (Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Helen Chandler), a pair of young lovers, planning to leave on some sort of trip and worrying about what will happen to their dog when they are gone. They are attempting to commit suicide. The film then changes scene to a disparate group of passengers who find themselves aboard a darkened, fog-enshrouded crewless boat, sailing to an unknown destination. Their stories are revealed one by one. Tom Prior, a prodigal son, discovers that he's travelling with his ex-boss Mr. Lingley, a captain of industry; Tom's mother, Mrs. Midget, whose identity the son does not know, is curious about how her son is doing; Mrs. Cliveden-Banks, an affected socialite, chats with the steward Scrubby; Rev. William Duke, a clergyman, is keen about his missionary work in the London slums; and the young couple, Henry and Ann, who we find are facing an impossible love affair and have decided that they cannot live without each other. They now wonder if they'll be together forever.

In time, the passengers slowly realize what's going on—the one thing they have in common is that they are all dead, and they are on their way to either heaven or hell; during the course of the trip they will be judged. Arriving at their destination, they sit awaiting judgment by Thompson, the "examiner". He will determine what sort of punishment or reward they receive in the next world.

But Henry and Ann, who unsuccessfully committed suicide and now hover in a sort of limbo between life and death, have not quite crossed over yet. Scrubby, the ship's steward, has already been condemned to sail the ship for eternity, having successfully committed suicide. Henry is eventually saved from asphyxiation by his dog breaking a window pane; he calls to Ann, she revives, and together they are rescued by an ambulance.



The film survives intact and has been broadcast on television and cable.

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