Westward Passage (1932) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A struggling writer divorces his wife to pursue his career without interference, but they meet in Europe years later after she has remarried.

  • Struggling writer Nick Allen and socialite Olivia Van Tyne marry and live frugally because Nick refuses to compromise his writing to satisfy his publisher. However, when they have an unwanted child, he does become a "hack" writer to feed the baby, little Olivia, and he resents it. Three years later, little Olivia interferes too much in his work, so he finds his own apartment and eventually divorces Olivia, who then marries gentle and kindly Harry Ottendorf. Not seeing each other for six more years, Olivia and Nick accidentally meet in Lucerne, Switzerland, while she, Harry and little Olivia are on vacation, and Nick, now a famous author, is on tour promoting his new book. When Harry has to go back to the States on business, Nick tries to rekindle Olivia's flickering love, but she repels him. Later, Olivia finds that Nick has also booked a room on the ship going home so they can take the westward passage together. Olivia is torn between her loyalty to Harry and her burgeoning love for Nick.

  • New York based writer Nick Allen and socialite Olivia Van Tyne have just gotten married. Their love is a natural one where they don't have to work at being in love with each other. But they quickly learn that there is more to sustaining a successful marriage than love, as stresses in their lives and differing priorities lead to problems. They include Nick feeling like he has to compromise his writing to make a sale to support his family which eventually includes a daughter also named Olivia, they having no money which results in the three of them stepping over each other in their small apartment where Nick also works (at the dining room table), and Olivia Sr. feeling like Nick blames her for their problems in his anger over the situation. Through their marriage, Olivia's former boyfriend, Harry Ottendorf, is continually in the picture as a friend, he who would admit that he is still in love with Olivia but toward who Olivia does not have as strong or natural a feeling of love as she has toward Nick. Regardless, Olivia decides to leave Nick and marry Harry, taking little Olivia to live in Chicago. As several years pass and circumstances change, Nick and Olivia run into each other in Europe, with little Olivia, now ten, having no recollection of "Mr. Allen" as her father. While they are on the same Paris to New York sailing without Harry, Nick and Olivia will find if time, circumstance, a little maturity and that continued natural love are enough to bring them back together.



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