It may be an "All Star Extravaganza" but Matheson Lang is the whole show - he plays larger than life financier Jacob Van Eeden and a real attempt was made to present him as a multi layered personality. A hard man who has his immediate future mapped out - he has some stocks and is escaping to Paris to do a deal before he is found out - but he is found out, overheard mapping out his plans to his adoring secretary Marion. The eavesdropper is Peter (Anthony Bushell, suitably wooden) Marion's fiance and a reporter. His first mistake is bursting into the apartment claiming "I'll tell, I'll tell"!! Van Eeden then sends some pointless messages to the telegrapher, guaranteed to keep him busy at his radio for the rest of the trip. There is another side to Van Eeden, one that makes him beloved, even by the lowliest man in the street - always willing to extend a helping hand "you come and see me and I'll give you a hand" he tells a man with a hard luck story and he knows everyone by name!! Edmund Gwenn as a husband taking his family over for a weekend in Paris, echoes everyone in his worshipful approach to Van Eeden. Van Eeden also has plans for Marion and they don't include Peter. He and Peter have an altercation on the fog bound deck and Jacob wrestles the reporter overboard but from then on he has an epiphany where the good in his character slowly wrestles out the bad. He forces the tired sailors to keep on searching and when the boy is found gives up his own life saving medicine to save his life.
Constance Cummings is great (as usual) giving a nuanced and professional
portrayal. Two others Nigel Bruce and Dorothy Dickson who, in the 1920s,
was Britain's answer to Marilyn Miller, play a bickering husband and wife
who at the voyage end find they are better off together than apart.
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