An adaptation of a Lloyd C. Douglas novel, endorsed by the author himself in the opening credits, Disputed Passage has its champions, most notably Fred Camper, who wrote an extensive essay on its spiritual properties in the 1970s. Viewed today, the film is a stupefying mixture of dreadful dialogue, wooden acting, outdated attitudes, and dark cinematography of various hospital rooms, climaxing in an impressive air raid in China and a very familiar “redemption through love” finish. Director Frank Borzage uses elements of his past work to imbue this ending with a feeling of transcendence, but the only thing he succeeds in doing is reminding us of the body-warming revival of The River and the strip of sky visible from a dirty shack in Man’s Castle, films that show up the smooth, dull piety of this unexceptional movie.
- Paramount Pictures
- 89 min
- Frank Borzage
- Anthony Veillor, Sheridan Gibney
- Dorothy Lamour, Akim Tamiroff, John Howard, Judith Barrett, William Collier Sr.
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