Whom the Gods Destroy


1h 15m 1934

Brief Synopsis

Broadway's most successful producer, John Forrester (Walter Connolly, character actor who was first-billed in six films in the mid-1930s), is deeply in love with his wife Margaret (Doris Kenyon)and dreams of the future when his son Jack (played in age order by Scotty Beckett, Macon Jones and Robert Young) will step into his shoes. He sails to England to produce a show but the ship strikes a derelict wreckage and is sinking rapidly. In the ensuing wild panic, Forrester saves many lives, until finally, panic stricken by sudden fear, he dons a woman's clothes and is among the rescued. On the coast of Newfouldland, the villagers, not aware of his true identity, curse him but he is befriended by Alec (Hobart Bosworth)who helps him conceal his identity. With a planned story of his survival, he returns to New York but cannot face his family or friends after he sees the plaque to his heroism on his New York theatre. Deciding to remain thought of as dead, he becomes a derelict himself, surviving on odd jobs as he watches from afar his now-grown son (Robert Young)begin his career as a producer. The son meets with failure and Forrester, claiming to be an old friend of his father, goes to him and renders assistance as Jack works on a new play. It is a success and Jack brings his mother to meet his mentor. She recognizes him as her husband and, after Jack has left the room, the two of them decide they still have happiness ahead of them, without Jack having to know the truth.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 14, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Hero" by Albert Payson Terhune in Delineator (October, 1928).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Eminent playwright John Forrester departs for London to work on his new play, The Sun Rises , while Margaret, his wife, stays behind with their young son Jackie. John's passenger liner hits a floating wreck and sinks. As the lifeboats are lowered, women and children board first, and John gives his life preserver to a woman named Henrietta Crosland. The shock of the disaster causes John to lose consciousness and later he is found dressed in women's clothes when the lifeboats are rescued by Newfoundland fisherman. Because John thinks he is a coward, he says he is fellow passenger Peter Korotoff before lapsing into a long illness. Meanwhile Henrietta tells the newspapers how John saved her, and he is assumed to have died a heroic death. Another pasenger, Alec Klein, learns John's real identity and, when John has recovered, sends him back to New York. Alec urges John to reveal himself, but John imagines that the fishermen would expose his cowardice if he admitted his identity, and so he adopts the alias of Eric Jann, and watches his son from a distance. John works for years as a dishwasher and waiter. Meanwhile, Jack attends Eastmore University, where he produces a successful play. Jack believes he has inherited his father's talent and quits school to take his play to Broadway, where it flops. John, who avidly follows Jack's career in the newspapers, loses his job when he attends the play's opening night. Afterward, John introduces himself to Jack as an old friend of his father, and convinces him to collaborate on a new play. When the play is a success, Jack tries to introduce John to his friends, but fearing recognition, John flees the theater. Jack brings Margaret to John's apartment. When Margaret recognizes John, they decide to reunite somewhere far away, and to never reveal the truth to Jack.

Cast

Walter Connolly

John Forrester [also known as Eric Jann and Peter Korotoff]

Robert Young

Jack Forrester

Doris Kenyon

Margaret Forrester

Scotty Beckett

Jack Forrester (as a child)

Rollo Lloyd

Henry Braverman

Hobart Bosworth

Alec [Klein]

Gilbert Emery

Prof. Weaver

Akim Tamiroff

[Peter] Korotoff

Henry Kolker

Carlo

The Yale Puppeteers

Puppeteers

Macon Jones

Jack Forrester, age 14

Maidel Turner

Henrietta Crosland

George Humbert

Niccoli

Hugh Huntley

Jameson

Walter Brennan

Clifford

Reginald Mason

Behan

Charles B. Middleton

Constable Malcolm

Raymond Brown

Judge

Mary Carr

Old actress

William Robyns

Old actor

Betty Francisco

Lead woman in show

Jack Mulhall

Lead man in show

Arthur Stuart Hull

Critic

Tom Ricketts

Charlie

Richard Heming

Jerry

Billie Seward

Jerry's wife

Philip Maxwell

Choirmaster

Rhody Hathaway

Doctor

Ara Haswell

Nurse

Olaf Hytten

Purser

William Welsh

Captain

Harrison Greene

Radio messenger boy

Ruth Clifford

Frightened woman

Joe Mack

Cardinal

Dick Rush

Railroad conductor

Wm. E. "babe" Lawrence

Man in dress clothes

Billy Scott

Man in dress clothes

Joan Dix

Miracle player

Edward Peil Sr.

Engineer

Larry Fisher

Engineer

Mert La Varr

Sailor with binoculars

Maurice Brierre

Officer on watch

John Paul Jones

Officer

Jack Mack

Officer

Jack Maston

Quartermaster

Adda Gleason

Passenger

Allan Sears

Passenger

Elinor Fair

Passenger

Fay Holderness

Passenger

Rose Plummer

Passenger

Miriam Shelby

Passenger

Lois Albright

Passenger

Allen Caven

Passenger

Ethel Sykes

Survivor

Ila Lee

Survivor

Peggy Leon

Survivor

Rhea Mitchell

Survivor

Lillian West

Survivor

Arthur S. "pop" Byron

Stage hand

Virginia True Boardman

Housekeeper

Al Stewart

Dishwasher

Charles Hickman

Foreman

Clarence Geldert

Newfoundlander

H. R. Hoff

Newfoundlander

Eddie Gordon

Newfoundlander

Nick Cogley

Newfoundlander

Ralph Hornbrook

Newfoundlander

Jack Rockwell

Newfoundlander

Harry Strang

Newfoundlander

May Foster

Newfoundland woman

Ricca Allen

Newfoundland woman

Nadine Beresford

Newfoundland woman

Stella Adams

Newfoundland woman

Nick Copeland

Reporter

Al Klein

Reporter

Ronald Roberts

Reporter

Nick Thompson

Cook

Carlo Schipa

Puppeteer

Maston Williams

Sailor

Al Mcdonald

Sailor

Dutch Hendrian

Sailor

Adolph Milar

Newfoundland husband

Isabel Vecki

Steerage girl

Marion Sheldon

Steerage woman

Leah Arvonoff

Steerage woman

Steve Clark

Petty officer

Clive Morgan

Petty officer

Alice Dodge

Welfare worker

Niles Welch

Edmund Burns

Billy Arnold

Jack Byron

Betty May

Eddie Hearn

John Webb Dillion

Ernest Young

Natalie Warfield

Charles King

Richard Kipling

Carlton E. Griffin

Ellinor Vanderveer

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 14, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Hero" by Albert Payson Terhune in Delineator (October, 1928).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to publicity, the "Yale Puppeteers" were Harry Burnett and Forman Brown, two University of Michigan students who had become one of the top three puppeteer groups in the world. According to publicity notes, the shipwreck scene required 500 extras. Whom the Gods Destroy was a Motion Picture Herald box-office champion for August 1934.