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Whom the Gods Destroy (1934)

Approved | | Drama | 12 July 1934 (USA)
Broadway's most successful producer, John Forrester, is deeply in love with his wife Margaret and dreams of the future when his son Jack will step into his shoes. He sails to England to ... See full summary »


Walter Lang


Albert Payson Terhune (story), Sidney Buchman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Walter Connolly ... John Forrester aka Eric Jann aka Peter Korotoff
Robert Young ... Jack Forrester
Doris Kenyon ... Margaret Forrester
Macon Jones Macon Jones ... Jack Forrester - Age 14
Scotty Beckett ... Jack Forrester, Age 4 (as Scott Beckett)
Rollo Lloyd ... Henry Braverman
Maidel Turner ... Henrietta Crosland
Henry Kolker ... Carlo - the Puppeteer
George Humbert George Humbert ... Niccoli
Hugh Huntley Hugh Huntley ... Jamison - Ship's Officer
Hobart Bosworth ... Alec Klein
Gilbert Emery ... Professor Weaver
Akim Tamiroff ... Peter Korotoff
Yale Puppeteers Yale Puppeteers ... Puppeteers (as The Yale Puppeteers)


Broadway's most successful producer, John Forrester, is deeply in love with his wife Margaret and dreams of the future when his son Jack will step into his shoes. He sails to England to produce a show but the ship strikes a derelict wreckage and is sinking rapidly. In the ensuing wild panic, Forrester saves many lives, until finally, panic stricken by sudden fear, he dons a woman's clothes and is among the rescued. On the coast of Newfouldland, the villagers, not aware of his true identity, curse him but he is befriended by Alec who helps him conceal his identity. With a planned story of his survival, he returns to New York but cannot face his family or friends after he sees the plaque to his heroism on his New York theatre. Deciding to remain thought of as dead, he becomes a derelict himself, surviving on odd jobs as he watches from afar his now-grown son begin his career as a producer. The son meets with failure and Forrester, claiming to be an old friend of his father, goes to him ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 July 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

De, guderne vil ødelægge See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Edited into Sea of Lost Ships (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

Hidden gem with a wonderful performance
17 April 2019 | by HotToastyRagSee all my reviews

I only rented this very obscure movie because I was honoring Robert Young as Star of the Week, so imagine my surprise to discover an incredibly acted tearjerker with an interesting directing style. Walter Connelly is not a household name, but if you recognize his face, it'll most likely be from It Happened One Night, where he played Claudette Colbert's father. Talk about hidden talents-Walter can act!

Walter starts the film as a successful Broadway producer, and he sails on a Titanic-esque ocean liner that crashes into unexpected debris and sinks. While the women and children are being helped into lifeboats, Walter panics. He thinks of his loving wife and adoring little son at home, and in a moment of desperation, he dons women's clothes and gets into a lifeboat. As it turns out, all the men go down with the ship, and when the women get rescued, Walter develops pneumonia. No one knows his name, so no one can get word to his family that he's survived.

Walter finally makes it back to New York, and he sees that his wife Doris Kenyon is in mourning, praising her hero husband who helped save lives before sacrificing his own. There's a bronzed likeness of him at the theater with an engraved similar sentiment. Walter feels sick, and in his intense shame and fear of what would happen to his family if he made his survival story known, he retreats into the shadows.

I won't tell you any more of what happens, only that it's an incredibly sad and touching story. Bring out a box of Kleenex when you watch Whom the Gods Destroy. Walter's transformation from boisterous millionaire to hopeless, homeless dishwasher is nothing short of incredible. After you watch this hidden gem, you'll be filled with admiration for a man whose greatest claim to fame was saying, "I haven't the faintest idea," after Claudette Colbert runs away from her wedding.

DLM Warning: If you suffer from vertigo or dizzy spells, like my mom does, this movie might not be your friend. There are several scene transitions that have spinning camerawork or montages faded over one another, and it will make you sick. In other words, "Don't Look, Mom!"

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