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Captain Salvation (1927), based on the novel by Frederick William Wallace, stars Lars Hanson as Anson Campbell, a man torn between two loves -- the sea and the service of God. As he studies for the ministry, he is appalled by the treatment of Bess Morgan (Pauline Starke) a woman in his village who is scorned because she is considered sinful. Leaving his studies and his sweetheart (Marceline Day) behind, he signs on with a convict ship, only to discover that Bess is also on board. She has promised Campbell she will lead a more virtuous life, and takes extreme measures rather than allowing the lecherous ship's captain (Ernest Torrence) to have his way with her. Her dedication inspires Campbell to return to the ministry, and to blend his two passions by establishing the first "gospel ship."
Hanson was no stranger to playing men of the cloth, having played Reverend Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter the year before, opposite Lillian Gish as Hester Prynne. The Swedish-born Hanson (1886-1965) was brought to the U.S. by MGM after the international success of The Saga of Gosta Berling (1924), in which he starred opposite Greta Garbo. He appeared in a half-dozen American films before returning to Europe with the advent of sound, where he remained active in films into the 1940s.
Starke (1901-1977) entered films in 1916 and worked her way up from extra to leading lady in films directed by Frank Borzage, Maurice Tourneur and others. Her stardom came to an end with the "talkies," and she made only occasional film appearances in the 1930s and '40s. Torrence (1878-1933) was born in Scotland and gained fame as an operatic baritone before entering Hollywood films in the early 1920s. He often played villainous parts, including Captain Hook in Peter Pan (1924) and Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes (1932). His final film appearance was in I Cover the Waterfront (1933).
Director: John S. Robertson
Screenplay: Jack Cunningham, John Colton (titles), based on the novel by Frederick William Wallace
Cinematography: William H. Daniels
Editing: William Hamilton
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Leo K. Kuter
Costume Design: Andr-ani
Principal Cast: Lars Hanson (Anson Campbell), Marceline Day (Mary Phillips), Pauline Starke (Bess Morgan), Ernest Torrence (Captain), George Fawcett (Zeke Crosby).
by Roger Fristoe