This modern "Flying Dutchman" story stars actor/playwright Noel Coward as a class-A heel. Coward uses his position as a powerful publisher to break as many hearts as is humanly possible. When Coward does his usual hatchet job on poet Julie Haydon, she plants a curse on his head, praying that he'll die and that no one will mourn him. Within the week, Coward is killed in a plane crash. Slated for Purgatory, Coward is given a second chance; if he can find someone who will weep for him, his soul will be saved. As expected, the sole mourner turns out to be Haydon, whose fiance's life is saved by the repentant Coward.
I'm still processing this, but I think it was something special. If nothing else, considering Lee Garmes' great photography, some of the best dialogue I've heard in any '30s film and the generally excellent and naturalistic performances, I'm astounded that it's such an obscurity. It's a bit 'Twilight Zone,' with Hecht and MacArthur sort of writing the rules for that kind of story. The big point of contention with the audience will surely be that the film carefully conceals what kind of story it is until approximately twenty minutes before the end, at which point it sets about redeeming its lead character in a manner that, while certainly heartfelt and touching, is just as jarring as the similar tonal turnaround…