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Souls in Conflict

Souls in Conflict(1954)

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The lives of several individuals in London, England are affected by the Crusade of American evangelist Billy Graham. Young, successful West End actress, Ann Woodbridge, remembers her life in the small English village of Shenston, where she lived with her widowed father Alan, vicar of the local Anglican Church, and her aunt Elizabeth: One day Ann tells her boy friend, Bob Dell, a medical student, that she is bored with village life and wants to study acting in London, although her father is against it. After a row with her aunt, Ann's father suggests that Ann take a holiday with friends in London. That visit results in Ann becoming an actress, but now she is somehow dissatisfied with her life. Elsewhere in London, Tom Stock, a factory machinist, reads about the Graham Crusade in a newspaper and derides it to his fellow workers. At an airdrome just outside London, pilot Geoff Bradley completes a successful test flight of a small jet plane, then finds aircraft designer Frank Coates discussing another report of the Crusade and volubly dismissing it. Geoff, however, wonders about the existence of God and cites instances of possible Divine intervention in air crashes, from which people have walked away. At the theater in which she is appearing, Ann is angered when she learns that Jerry, her actor fiancé, is flirting with another young actress in the company. Ann gladly accepts an invitation to dinner from Bob, whom she has not seen for several years. Bob tells Ann about visiting her father, from whom she has become estranged, and that her father is lonely. When Bob asks if he might still have a chance with her romantically, Ann explains that she is marrying her leading man the following month. Later, after Ann and Jerry attend a party that he says is very important to their careers, Ann begins to despise the artificiality and insincerity of theater life. Meanwhile, Tom has one of many fights with his wife Ruth and teenage daughter Eileen, while Geoff questions his parents about their religious beliefs. In Shenston, Alan welcomes a surprise visitor, American actress Colleen Townsend Evans, who explains that she is working as a counselor with the Graham Crusade in London and is taking the opportunity to research a seventeenth-century ancestor's grave. After Alan shows Colleen her ancestor's tomb inside the twelfth-century church, he bemoans today's lack of interest in God and states that although their faith is considered out of date, he feels that the gospel is still very much alive. Colleen is impressed by Alan's earnest affirmation of faith, and over tea, is interested to learn that Ann is his daughter, as her name appeared on a list of members of the theatrical profession the Crusade intend to invite to hear Graham preach. That news pleases both Alan and Elizabeth. Tom, meanwhile, is puzzled by a change for the better in his daughter's behavior after she has attended the Crusade at Harringay Arena. Tom then discovers that he and his work mates have won thousands of pounds on the football pools, a form of legalized gambling, and promises his family a new life. When Colleen visits Ann in London and mentions that she saw her father, Ann breaks down and speaks of how she now regrets leaving the village and of the price she has had to pay for her success. Colleen responds that her own life was very similar until she found Christ and thus found peace in herself. At the airdrome, George Beverly Shea and Donn Moomaw, members of the Graham Crusade team, have been invited by the management to talk to the staff. Geoff attends and is moved and impressed by the testimony of Moomaw, a former All-American football star. At work, Tom discovers that the worker entrusted with sending in the weekly, communal pool entry has not done so for the past few weeks and has disappeared. Tom does not relish having to explain this sudden change of fortune to his wife and daughter, but, when he returns home, he learns that Eileen has taken her mother to attend the Crusade at Harringay. Geoff and Ann are also in the vast crowd as the service begins. Graham's sermon expands on the theme, "Does God Matter?" At the end of his sermon, Graham asks people to come toward the podium and make a commitment to Christ. Many, including Geoff and Ann, go forward and are later counseled by members of the Crusade team. After Ruth and Eileen return home, a drunken Tom challenges Ruth to admit that he has given her a terrible life. He is astonished when Ruth, due to her experience at the Crusade, forgives him and asks that they now try to have a happy home. Later, Geoff tells Frank that this time he has tested himself and has changed his life. Needing peace and time to make decisions about her future, Ann returns to the village and greatly pleases her father when she tells him that she has committed herself to Christ.