The film BETWEEN TWO WORLDS was based on a play titled Outward Bound that ran in 1924 and had a brief revival in 1938. A 1930 film titled the same followed and this film is a remake of that first effort. It’s a story of a diverse group of people fleeing war-torn London on board a cruise liner. There’s a couple Henry Bergner(Paul Henreid) and his wife Anne(Eleanor Parker) who know the truth.
Henry Bergman is an Austrian pianist turned resistance fighter. he’s lost his touch at the piano, a nervous condition. He wants to get out of London, but doesn’t have an exit permit and can’t get one for six months. His wife Anne is looking for him and, at the outside of the steamship office, witnesses a carload of passengers headed for their ship take a direct him from a bomb during an air raid. Obliterated.
They next find themselves on a strange ship, mostly deserted, and recognizes the handful of passengers as the ones she saw killed in the bombing. As the pair chose to die, they seem to be the only ones that realize they’re all dead. A ship steward, Scrubby(Edmund Gwynn) urges them to remain silent. Each must come to the conclusion themselves. “Where are we sailing?” Anne asks and is told by Scrubby, “Heaven? Hell? Wherever you’re bound.”
The list of passengers encompass all sorts. A cynical reporter(John Garfield), a man who’d been fired for writing exposes of another of the group. At one point, he says his epitaph should red “Here lies Prior. Wifeless, Childless. Wishing his father had died the same.” Mr Lingley (George Coulouris) is a ruthless millionaire who stepped on a lot of people building his fortune. He’s deathly afraid and when separated earlier from his two bodyguards tries to buy Bergner’s services, continually upping the price until Anne urges him to accept it in order to give Lingley peace of mind. A kindly old woman(Sara Allgood) who always wanted a cottage by the sea. A timid priest(Dennis King) who wants to help his fellow man. An odd-ball couple(Gilbert Emery and Isobel Elson), she a shallow social climber who cheats on her husband, a wealthy man who is a decent sort. The reporter’s girl friend(Faye Emerson) is a wealth seeking actress who’d spurned him in order to get next to Lingley. And the merchant marine(George Tobias) headed home to see his new baby for the first time. He considers himself lucky because he’s survived three ships sank by U-boats.
The first to learn the truth is Prior, the newsman, when he overhears Henry and Anne talking on deck. He takes great delight in revealing to all in an impromptu magic show, burning Lingley’s money and shooting him with his own gun. To no effect of course.
The secret out, The Examiner(Sidney Greenstreet), a deceased Reverend, puts in an appearance. He’s there to decide the fates of all the passengers, each being consigned to their proper fate. It’s not good for a lot of them.
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