Channel Crossing (October 16, 1933)
Released on October 16, 1933: A wealthy businessman is faced with the end of his company and possibly his life if he cannot cross the English Channel and reach Paris in time.
Produced by Angus MacPhail
Directed by Milton Rosmer
Written by W.P. Lipscomb and Cyril Campion
The Actors: Edmund Gwenn (Trotter), Matheson Lang (Jacob Van Eeden), Constance Cummings (Marion Slade), Anthony Bushell (Peter Bradley), Dorothy Dickson (Vi Guthrie), Nigel Bruce (Nigel Guthrie), Douglas Jefferies (Doctor Walkley), H.G. Stoker (Captain R.H. Kilbee), Max Miller (James), Viola Lyel (singer), Clare Greet (anxious passenger), Ellen Pollock (actress), Mignon O'Doherty (unknown), George Ridgwell (unknown), Gerald Barry (passenger), Stanley Vilven (unknown), Hay Plumb (Steward), Cyril Smith (Beach), Elizabeth Corcoran (unknown), Elizabeth Jenns (unknown), Rodney Millington (unknown), Henry Hepworth (boy), John Hepworth (boy), Ronnie Hepworth (boy), Bernard Miles (passenger), Wally Patch (sailor), C. Denier Warren (purser), Michael Wilding (passenger), Sam Wilkinson (passenger)
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The Wrong Thing for the Right Reason?
This story has so many angles that relate to the world in 1933 . . . and yet it is a timeless lesson about 'doing the right thing.' In 1933 the world was deep into a financial recession. Companies went bankrupt, men were without work, leaders of industry were becoming paupers overnight . . . yet a few men remained wealthy and grew their companies and still employed many workers, keeping alive many small towns and economies. Some of you will believe that any wealthy businessman like the one in this story who prospers during tough times must be corrupt for the sake of being corrupt . . . eager to trample on the lives of the 'little people.' Some of you will believe that a businessman who survives the toughest times must once in a while break the rules in order to survive and keep his companies going . . . Once in a while a man must do something awful to survive and fight a new day . . . and good people of both beliefs can find real evidence to support their beliefs . . . . There can be honest disagreement by good folk about motives and what 'doing the right thing' really is in every circumstance. Is it right to be dishonest in order to save a company during tough times? Is it all right to do the wrong thing for the right reason? Once done, will the universe allow that person to continue to prosper if his motives were to help his many employees more than to increase his own riches? . . . .
Enough philosophy, let's get down to gritty crime, attempted murder, and a foggy day on the English Channel. Matheson Lang plays the part of a wealthy business tycoon with factories and businesses that employ many, and he seems to be a benevolent fellow, loved by all around him. This day he has closed a giant business deal that will bring many more jobs to England . . . but there is a problem . . . During the deepest days of the Great Depression a couple of years ago he faked some assets on paper to avoid going bankrupt and closing all of his factories and now, he is in a race against time to travel from London to Paris to close the big merger deal before the company he is buying discovers his bad paper trail. His secretary's young boyfriend comes aboard the ship crossing the channel and discovers the dirty little secret that has kept the great tycoon from going bankrupt, and promises to tell the world about the man's deceit. The two men argue at the ship's rail in the thick fog and suddenly the young man who would tell the world about the wealthy tycoon's dirty little secret goes over the rail and into the cold water of the English Channel. I imagine that the wealthy tycoon has thoughts somewhat like the joke about what one would think about seeing their mother-in-law drive over a cliff in your brand new car . . . is it good? . . . is it bad? . . . What to do next . . . What is the right thing to do? . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Anthony Bushell and Constance Cummings
Anthony Bushell and Douglas Jefferies
Constance Cummings and Matheson Lang
Constance Cummings learns the truth
Constance Cummings and Matheson Lang
H.G. Stoker and Matheson Lang
Matheson Lang and Constance Cummings
Matheson Lang meets Anthony Bushell
Nigel Bruce and Dorothy Dickson