Outward Bound (play)
Outward Bound is a 1923 play written by Sutton Vane
Sutton Vane
Sutton Vane was a British playwright best known work for Outward Bound , which was filmed twice and was still being performed eight decades after its premiere.- Career as actor :...


The play is about a group of seven passengers who meet in the lounge of an ocean liner at sea and realize that they have no idea why they are there, or where they are bound. Each of them eventually discovers that they are dead, and that they have to face judgment from an Examiner, who will determine whether they are to go to Heaven or Hell. Producers stayed away from such an unusual combination of fantasy and drama, so Vane staged it himself, painting his own backdrops and building his own sets, reportedly for $600. It proved to be a huge success, becoming the hit of the 1923 London season.

It premiered on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 at the Ritz Theatre on January 7, 1924, running for 144 performances until May 1924. Dudley Digges
Dudley Digges (actor)
Dudley Digges was an Irish stage and film actor.Digges was born in Dublin. He went to America with a group of Irish players in 1904, and became successful both as an actor and producer. For a time, he was stage manager to Charles Frohman and George Arliss...

, Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard (actor)
Leslie Howard was an English stage and film actor, director, and producer. Among his best-known roles was Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind and roles in Berkeley Square , Of Human Bondage , The Scarlet Pimpernel , The Petrified Forest , Pygmalion , Intermezzo , Pimpernel Smith...

, Beryl Mercer
Beryl Mercer
Beryl Mercer was a Spanish-born American-based actress of the 1920s and 1930s.Born to British parents in Seville, Beryl Mercer was best-known for her motherly roles in film and regularly appeared as a grandmother or cook or maid in some high profile films...

 and Alfred Lunt
Alfred Lunt
Alfred Lunt was an American stage director and actor, often identified for a long-time professional partnership with his wife, actress Lynn Fontanne...

 starred in the production.

The play was revived on Broadway at the Playhouse Theatre, from December 22, 1938 to July 22, 1939, running for 255 performances. This production was directed by Otto Preminger
Otto Preminger
Otto Ludwig Preminger was an Austro–Hungarian-American theatre and film director.After moving from the theatre to Hollywood, he directed over 35 feature films in a five-decade career. He rose to prominence for stylish film noir mysteries such as Laura and Fallen Angel...

, and featured Laurette Taylor
Laurette Taylor
Laurette Taylor was an American stage and silent film actress.-Personal life:Laurette Taylor was born in New York City of Irish extraction as Loretta Helen Cooney.-Personal life:...

, Helen Chandler and Vincent Price
Vincent Price
Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. was an American actor, well known for his distinctive voice and serio-comic attitude in a series of horror films made in the latter part of his career.-Early life and career:Price was born in St...


Several film adaptations were made, the first being 1930's Outward Bound
Outward Bound (film)
Outward Bound is a film based on the hit 1923 play of the same name by Sutton Vane. The film stars Leslie Howard, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Helen Chandler, Beryl Mercer, Montagu Love, Alison Skipworth, Alec B...

, with Dudley Digges and Beryl Mercer reprising their roles, while Leslie Howard played Lunt's. It was remade in 1944 as Between Two Worlds, with some changes reflecting World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. John Garfield
John Garfield
John Garfield was an American actor adept at playing brooding, rebellious, working-class character roles. He grew up in poverty in Depression-era New York City and in the early 1930s became an important member of the Group Theater. In 1937 he moved to Hollywood, eventually becoming one of Warner...

, Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet
Sydney Greenstreet
Sydney Hughes Greenstreet was an English actor. He is best known for his Warner Bros. films with Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre, which include The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca .-Biography:...

, and Eleanor Parker
Eleanor Parker
Eleanor Jean Parker is an American screen actress. Her versatility led to her being dubbed Woman of a Thousand Faces, the title of her biography by Doug McClelland.- Early life :...

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