Here is a film, if ever there was one, that is best indicative of one player’s superlative performance. The player, Robert Newton, disregards tradition and enacts the featured male role without bombast or any sort of vocal pyrotechnics.
There is little in the picturized version of A.J. Cronin’s bestseller that is not already stale and the plot travels along stereotyped lines to an obvious conclusion. It is, however, artistically produced, photographed and acted.
It is the story of a strong, hard Scotsman of Gladstonian days, who rules his household with the proverbial iron rod and turns his daughter out to almost certain death in a storm on learning of her dishonor. His only indication of affection is that for his schoolboy son, for whom he has exalted ambitions. It is a character drawing so strongly ruthless as to be fascinating.
The leading lady is Deborah Kerr, charming and sincere as the daughter; the juvenile lead of Doctor Renwick is restrainedly played by James Mason.