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Journey Into Light (1951)

Passed | | Drama | 25 August 1952 (UK)
A minister embittered by his wife's suicide turns away from God. He ends up among the bums of skid row before he finds meaning again through the love of a missionary's blind daughter.


Stuart Heisler


Stephanie Nordli (screenplay), Irving Shulman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sterling Hayden ... Reverend John Burrows
Viveca Lindfors ... Christine Thorssen
Thomas Mitchell ... Gandy
Ludwig Donath ... 'Doc' Thorssen
H.B. Warner ... Wiz - the Wino
Jane Darwell ... Mack
John Berkes ... Racky
Peggy Webber ... Jane Burrows
Paul Guilfoyle ... Fanatic
Charles Evans ... Bishop Logan
Marion Martin ... Diana (as Marian Martin)
Everett Glass ... Deacon Adams
Raymond Bond Raymond Bond ... Deacon Edwards
Billie Bird ... Gertie
O.Z. Whitehead ... Lippy


A sermon by Rev. John Burrows (Sterling Hayden),is interrupted as his wife, Jane (Peggy Webber),walks down the center aisle of the church. She feels she can not keep up with her husband's ambition and sense of importance, and she commits suicide. In a grave-side rejection of religion, John blames his parishioners rather than himself. He runs of and wanders around the country. After being jailed as a vagrant, he ends up in the Bowery section of New York City. The head of a skid-row mission, "Doc' Thorssen (Ludwig Donath') and his blind daughter, Christine (Viveca Lindfors), take care of him and give him a job as a janitor. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of a man who turned his back on God!




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 August 1952 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Skid Row See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Monica, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

How deep can you fall? It doesn't matter. By grace you can fall forever.
9 February 2018 | by clanciaiSee all my reviews

A shabby story from skid row about bums and fallen women and sanctimonious slum missions where Sterling Hayden repeatedly falls down into the gutter and stays there, turns out to be a universally interesting and overwhelmingly good story. There are moments in this film that you will remember forever.

He is not a fallen priest. It's not his fault that his wife after two stillborns turns alcoholic and ruins his life and position to crown it all with a bloody suicide, which turns him naturally enough not only away from God but against God, so that he associates with the bottom layer of society, with Thomas Mitchell in a perfect role for him as an honest con man, as the desperate man has nothing else to do.

The most touching and human scene of all, among the many in this deeply human film, is when the preacher can't lead the service as Viveca Lindfors, his daughter who saves the show, is in coma at the hospital, so Sterling has no choice but to stand up as leading preacher himself for the first time since his wife committed suicide. He does it reluctantly and with great hesitation, he almost stumbles up at the pulpet, but then something happens in the congregation. Dirty old men, beggars, loafers and what not are all touched by the moment of crisis at the critical condition of the girl they all love, so they all, in various ways, fall down to prayer, one bum leading the heart-rending reaction.

But there are many moments like this. Some moods in this film remind you of Chaplin's "City Lights" and other such extremely poetical films, for this is cinematic poetry caught and set in realism. Vittorio de Sica couldn't have done it better. You will never forget this film.

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