Filled Under: Tom Keene
Opening Title Card: [first card] “It is not generally known that there are Atheist Societies using the schools of the country as their battle-ground, attacking, through the Youth of the Nation, the beliefs that are sacred to most of the people.”
Opening Title Card: [second card] “And no fanatics are so bitter as youthful fanatics.”
“The Godless Girl” (1929) is a silent drama directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The movie was completely shot without sound, but after the advent of talkies, some sound and a dialogue sequence were added.
“The Godless Girl” centers around two high school kids. Judy Craig (Lina Basquette) is a hard core atheist. Bob Hathaway (Tom Keene) is a devoted christian. Judy forms a club called ‘The Godless Society’ in high school and begins to recruit members. Bob incites other students to attack the atheists and a riot ensues. An atheist girl named Grace (Marie Prevost) is accidently killed in the melee. As a result of Grace’s death, Judy, Bob, and another boy are sent to the state reformatory where they are treated very badly by the head guard (Noah Beery). The two former antagonists, Judy and Bob, under the harsh life of reform school, begin to find common ground and fall in love. Bob plans a succesful escape for himself and Judy, but they are soon caught and returned to the reformatory. They are locked in seperate cells as punishment for their escape attempt. While locked up, a fire breaks out, and Bob manages to save himself and Judy along with the brutal head guard. As a result, Bob and Judy are given their freedom.
The first part of the film is very high-handed in it’s treatment of Christianity versus Atheism as the two groups really go after each other with no tolerance for the other side’s belief’s. Marie Provost’s (Grace) death scene is beautifully done and very touching with the atheist girl confessing she is afraid to die because she doesn’t know what is next. Noah Berry is very convincing as the evil, brutal head guard and some of the violence in the reformatory is somewhat graphic. Lina Basquette and Tom Keene are very, very good in their roles as Judy and Bob and easily carry the movie with their performances. Overall, “The Godless Girl” holds your attention throughout the movie and is very entertaining.