Review: ‘Souls at Sea’

Souls at Sea is a good picture, second in the cycle of slave-ship films.

Souls at Sea is a good picture, second in the cycle of slave-ship films.

Narrative opens with a courtroom trial and flashes back to recount the saga of Gary Cooper and George Raft as adventurous seamen, the latter frankly a slave-trader, but Cooper of finer and seemingly nobler antecedents.

Henry Hathaway’s direction is bold, brave and sweeping. He paints the yarn [by Ted Lesser] with an indelible brush, particularly in the sequences on the seas leading up to and following the conflagration of the SS William Brown. Skillful film editing permits little that’s extraneous. Human touch when little Virginia Weidler capsizes the kerosene lamp which fires the packet from Liverpool to Philadelphia is vividly translated to the audience.

Cooper and Raft are outstanding – the former up to his usual standard; Raft a bit of a surprise as a sympathetic player who meets his dramatic opportunities more than half way. Frances Dee is a bit above Olympe Bradna’s opportunities in the principal, but relatively minor, femme roles.

Souls at Sea


Paramount. Director Henry Hathaway; Producer Henry Hathaway; Screenplay Grover Jones, Dale Van Every; Camera Charles Lang Jr, Merritt Gerstad; Editor Ellsworth Hoagland; Music W. Franke Harling, Milton Roder, Bernard Kaun; Art Director Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson


(B&W) Extract of a review from 1937. Running time: 90 MIN.


Gary Cooper George Raft Frances Dee Henry Wilcoxon Harry Carey Olympe Bradna
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety