Earthbound

Overview

Future blacklistee John Howard Lawson co-wrote this remake of Samuel Goldwyn's 1920 drama Earthbound, presented here as a rather more straightforward morality tale/fantasy. Warner Baxter and Andrea Leeds star as Nick and Ellen Desbrough, a seemingly happily-married couple celebrating their fifth anniversary at the outset of the movie. But Nick hasn't been nearly as faithful as Ellen believes, and his one-time romance with Linda Reynolds (Lynn Bari) has come back to haunt him. He believed the relationship was ...
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Overview

Future blacklistee John Howard Lawson co-wrote this remake of Samuel Goldwyn's 1920 drama Earthbound, presented here as a rather more straightforward morality tale/fantasy. Warner Baxter and Andrea Leeds star as Nick and Ellen Desbrough, a seemingly happily-married couple celebrating their fifth anniversary at the outset of the movie. But Nick hasn't been nearly as faithful as Ellen believes, and his one-time romance with Linda Reynolds (Lynn Bari) has come back to haunt him. He believed the relationship was safely ended long ago, and Linda to be in love with his longtime friend Jeffrey Reynolds (Henry Wilcoxon) -- but she still wants Nick, and when he rejects her, she shoots him in a fit of jealous rage. Jeff takes the blame for the murder and is put on trial, while Nick -- now a wraith-like figure caught between heaven and earth -- tries desperately to communicate with Ellen or anyone else, to no avail, to tell them of Jeff's innocence. The only person with whom he can communicate is a mysterious man (Charles Grapewin) who seems to know a great deal about where Nick has been and also where he might -- or might not -- end up. Confronted in death by all of the unhappiness that his faithless life has caused, Nick vows to try and repair some of the damage, but it may take a miracle for that to happen.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
The 1940 version of Earthbound carries a very topical message, courtesy of screenwriters Samuel G. Engel and John Howard Lawson. There are several reminders about the reality of the Second World War scattered throughout the script, which considerably updates the 1920 Goldwyn version, as well as simplifying the plot and narrowing the time-frame of the action. And while the characters and setting, as well as the broader plot here are obviously drawn from Basil King's original story, one can also detect some of the influence of Molnar's Liliom, and also of Frank Borzage's 1930 film of the latter (which was done for Fox). The topicality gave it an immediacy in 1940 that probably helped it overcome the incredulity of some of the plot elements, and the acting -- above average even for a Foc B-title -- holds up today, along with Irving Pichel's direction, even if the sentimentality seems dated.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/22/2012
  • UPC: 024543827344
  • Original Release: 1940
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Mod
  • Presentation: B&W / Full Frame
  • Time: 1:07:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 70,605

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Warner Baxter Nick Desborough
Andrea Leeds Ellen Desborough
Lynn Bari Linda Reynolds
Charles Grapewin Mr. Whimser
Henry Wilcoxon Jeffrey Reynolds
Elizabeth Patterson Becky Tilden
Russell Hicks Prosecutor
Christian Rub Almette
Ian Wolfe Totten
Lester Scharff Detective
Reginald Sheffield Defense Attorney
Pedro de Cordoba Minister
Technical Credits
Irving Pichel Director
Lucien Andriot Cinematographer
Samuel G. Engel Screenwriter
John Howard Lawson Screenwriter
Louis Loeffler Editor
Alfred Newman Score Composer
Sol Wurtzel Producer
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