I Conquer The Sea! (January 24, 1936)
Released on January 24, 1936: (running time 67 minutes) A Nordic story of community, discrimination and bigotry, forbidden love, hunting whales and more.
Directed by Victor Halperin
Written by Richard Carroll, Howard Higgin and Rollo Lloyd.
The Actors: Steffi Duna (Rosita Gonzales), Dennis Morgan (Tommy Ashley), Douglas Walton (Leonard Ashley), George Cleveland (Caleb Ashley), E. Alyn Warren (Sebastian), Anna De Linsky (Mrs. Maria Gonzalez), Johnnie Pirrone Jr. (Pedro Gonzales), Charles McMurphy (Zack), Jimmy Hertz (Tiny), Olin Francis (Gabe), Gino Corrado (Portugese man with three wives), Albert Russell (Josh), Frederick Peters (Stubby), Renee Daniels (unknown), Elaine Deane (unknown), Joan Deane (unknown), Dorothy Kildare (unknown), Rollo Lloyd (unknown), Tiny Skelton (unknown).
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If you like to watch movies with a group, and then discuss the movie, this one is a lost classic that is perfect to start discussions with. By today's standards, it is wrong on lots of levels. I am certain that the movie was made as a 'message' movie, but since 1936 the message has changed. You will see discrimination overcome, but more than that you will see the courage that we have seen before and will see again, but in a setting that most if not all of us is very different than we have ever seen. We are in the North Sea where a small coastal community has lived for generations by hunting and killing whales. Yup, I understand that today it is very politically incorrect to hunt whales, but in 1936 it was an honorable profession, and a unique way of life. You will experience the joy of community - the whole village is like one big family. When we add a love story that involves a cross-racial marriage and a tale of forbidden love, the topics for discussion later will keep you talking even longer than the movie takes to watch. Grab your popcorn and soda pop, and let's get into a really complex and amazing story of love and courage in a small fishing village.
Tommy and Leonard are brothers in this fishing village. Leonard is a doctor, and Tommy is the best whale harpoon man in the village. This village also has a small group of Portuguese immigrants, and the locals do not like them one little bit. But Tommy really likes Rosita, a cute young Portuguese girl. His brother Leonard warns him against falling in love with someone outside his Nordic race, but Leonard doesn't care, and he makes plans for Rosita and him to get married. Now we make discrimination a bit murkier . . . while Doctor Tommy believes that his brother should never marry a Portuguese girl, Tommy goes to extraordinary lengths to help Rosita's little crippled brother to walk. So Tommy seems to hold no dislike of the Portuguese, he just doesn't think that they should inter-marry. Not out of hatred for the Portuguese, but out of some other unstated feelings . . . discuss . . . .
Okay, let's make this drama even more complicated. Rosita is to be wed to Tommy, but she and doctor Leonard accidentally fall in love. That isn't bad enough, but during the next whale hunt Leonard loses his strong right arm in the struggle with a whale. Now with only one arm, Rosita cannot tell him that she loves his brother instead of him, and she marries him anyway and has his child. If she confesses her love for Leonard, the whole community will believe that she only left Tommy because he lost his arm. She must pretend to love Tommy anyway, and not express her love for Leonard. But she still loves Leonard, and Leonard still loves her. But they must be dishonest to avoid the stigma of telling the truth. Are there times like this when lies must be told by good people? . . . discuss . . .
And I won't even start the discussion about hunting whales, or committing suicide honorably . . . . you are on your own for those.