Law of the Sea (January 20, 1932)
Released on January 20, 1932: Two sea captains, one good and one evil, battle each other over the women in their lives.
Directed by Otto Brower
Written by Lee Chadwick and Paul Jones.
The Actors: William Farnum (Len Andrews), Rex Bell (Cole as a man), Sally Blane (Betty Merton), Eve Southern (cousin Estelle), Ralph Ince (Marty Drake), Priscilla Dean (Jane Andrews), Wally Albright (Cole Andrews as a child), Jack Clifford (first mate), Heinie Conklin (fireman), Kit Guard (seaman), Jack Roper (seaman), Syd Saylor (sailor), Charles F. Taylor (fire chief).
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Poor Sally Blane . . . Loretta Young's kid sister is in for a rough ride, and you may be surprised how complicated the plot can get from this 1932 dramatic thriller. There is a universal law that works all the time, everywhere, and in every situation. It is hinted at in scores of movies, and in most of the 'holy' books from just about every religion. I was brought up with the Bible, and in it one of the places it is mentioned it says something like, 'whatsoever a man plants, so shall he reap.' If you want to eat corn on the cob in the fall, you'd better plant corn in the spring, not beans. If you want a life filled with people who love you and enjoy your company, you'd better love the ones around you and enjoy their company no matter how 'different' they are from you. What you plant, you reap. In this dramatic film about seamen and their lives and loves, it takes twenty odd years for two sea captains to reap their harvest, but that harvest comes as sure as the sun rising in the east. Many people today refer to this univeral law as the law of attraction - you attract to yourself the exact same things that you project out to others. John Wayne made a movie about this universal law back in 1947. In this motion picture, one sea captain gets a sweet portion of revenge, and the other reaps the rewards of an evil life. And poor Sally Blane is caught in the middle. Get your white kernel popcorn ready and enjoy a wild and wooly tale of sea faring families and the Law of the Sea.
As our movie opens we join Captain Len Andrews as he is piloting his small boat through a terrible storm. Below decks are his young wife and son, and his partner. The ship doesn't survive the storm, and we next see the Captain, his wife and son and partner in a life boat drifting on the ocean. When they come upon a large sailing ship they are taken aboard and rescued . . . not because the Captain of the sailing ship is concerned about their well-being, but because he spots Captain Andrews' lovely young wife. Once on board, the evil Captain tries to have his way with Andrews' wife, and sets the Captain, he young son, and his partner loose on the ocean again in their small life boat. But when the evil Captain returns to have his fun with Andrews' wife, he discovers that she has killed herself to avoid being molested by the evil Captain.
Fast forward twenty years and we discover that Captain Andrews and his young son have survived, although dad is now blind. But Cole, the young son, is becoming a fine seaman himself, and is engaged to the lovely Betty Merton (Sally Blane). Ahhh, but there are troubled waters ahead for all . . . .
Betty has a tramp of a cousin living with her, and one night her cousin entices Cole and like most guys that can only think with one head at a time, he succumbs to her wiles. Betty is devastated, and kicks Cole to the curb in her anger. Her tramp cousin feels terribly about it, and tries through the rest of the movie to make amends. But we still have a score to settle between papa Andrews and the evil Captain that took his wife and cast him off to die on the ocean. This evil captain is in port and has a fire on his ship, and when he is rescued and Betty is the one who cares for him while he is hurt. The evil Captain is a life-long skirt chaser, and he immediately chases young Betty. And Betty, inclined to refuse this older man's advances, decides instead to date him just to spite Cole, so now we have the circle of planting and harvest coming together for the two sea captains. Blind Captain Andrews hears the evil Captain's wicked laugh, and knows at once that this is the man who wronged him and his family many years ago, and we will build to an awesome climax between Captain Andrews and the evil sea Captain that brings the harvest of the crop that both of these sea captains have planted over their lifetimes.