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|Index||18 reviews in total|
Young DR. JACK tries to save a pretty invalid from the
machinations of an unscrupulous medical quack.
Silent comedian Harold Lloyd had another success in this wildly funny movie. Healthy servings of sentimental nostalgia mixed into the plot only add to the fun. Playing a doctor whose good humor & common sense make him the most popular fellow in rural Magnolia Meadows, Harold makes full use of his tremendous athletic abilities to propel the storyline, piling one gag on top of another. Whether exiting his moving jalopy to shoo cows from his path, saving a naughty tyke from a spanking or breaking up a poker game in a most unique fashion, Harold is never less than hilarious. Finally, he leads one of his wild trademark chases, this time through a spooky house, a sequence that includes both a wonderful Lon Chaney spoof and one of the funniest enraged dogs to ever appear on film.
Mildred Davis has an unusually good role, showing off her acting skills as the spunky invalid. Eric Mayne is appropriately hissable as the bearded villain. Movie mavens will recognize OUR GANG's mischievous Mickey Daniels as Harold's freckle-faced patient and darling old Anna Townsend as the lonely mother of Harold's lawyer friend - both uncredited.
Robert Israel has composed an excellent film score which perfectly complements Harold's antics on the screen.
Most of this Harold Lloyd feature consists of enjoyable low-key comedy,
but it is capped off with a manic chase finale that is fun to watch.
Aside from a handful of somewhat dated details, it holds up pretty
well, and it has some good material. In "Doctor Jack", Lloyd gets to
play the kind of energetic, well-meaning character that he performed
Most of the first half of the movie simply introduces the characters and presents a series of interactions between "Doctor Jack" and various persons in his hometown. It's pleasant and often pretty amusing, since there are a lot of subtle comic touches to go along with the rather broadly-played events. In the second half, the doctor takes on the 'invalid' played by Mildred Davis, and from there things build up towards the finale.
The conference between 'Jack' and the stuffy specialist is crafted nicely, and the climactic chase sequence is entertaining as long as you don't take it too seriously. In fact, by design it seems to get more and more ridiculous as it proceeds, until it is finally resolved in a clever way.
This doesn't have the memorable material or impressive set pieces of Lloyd's most celebrated movies, but it has a lot of amusing moments, and shows skill in a different way, by taking what is essentially one simple situation and using it for as much comedy as possible.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
DR. JACK has received mixed response through the years, being usually
listed as one of Harold Lloyd's weaker efforts. However, I believe this
to be the result of the film being released after the revolutionary
GRANDMA'S BOY, which set a new standard as to what screen comedy should
be all about, and prior to SAFETY LAST!, which may be considered
Lloyd's signature work due to its inclusion of daredevil comedy. Seated
between these two gems, DR. JACK may come off as somewhat mediocre, but
I am still convinced it must rank among the better screen comedies
produced up till that time, both for its laughs as well as thematic
reasons; namely, criticism of psychiatry.
Harold Lloyd portrays Dr. Jack, a doctor who is a flawless human being and thus a flawless psychiatrist. He helps anyone; an old woman is ill and Harold promises her that he will get her a medicine within a very short time. A few moments later, the old woman's son turns up through the door, and she feels better and younger than ever. Her illness was simply that she felt abandoned, but her son's company cured her, which Jack explains to the confused son, who was obliged to interrupt his work because he had got the sad news that his mother was "seriously ill." In the same town, there's a young girl, whose name is never given; in the opening titles she is simply named The Sick-Little-Well-Girl (Mildred Davis). She has suffered through a serious nervous illness for several years, according to Dr. Ludwig Von Saulsbourg, a psychiatrist who believes in the old methods; namely to isolate the patient and let the concerned remain in darkness, while being given daily doses of various medicines. The girl can't even listen to music and hardly talk to anyone. The girl's father is weak and gives in for everything that Saulsbourg demands. When Dr. Jack enters on the scene, he is rightfully astonished and determined to put Saulsbourg's methods to task.
With this premise, DR. JACK dares to put the often narrow-minded view on mental illness that occurs among psychiatrists, with Dr. Saulsborg representing the kind who dwells on a supposed sickness, as opposed to Jack who is convinced that focus on humanity is often more giving. Surely the characters used to emphasize this point are fairly one-dimensional and scarcely nuanced, but even so, I was amazed to see such a topic being brought to light with such frankness in a comedy of this era.
In addition to being thought-provoking at times, DR. JACK also fills the main purpose of any comedy; amusing gags occurs throughout, sometimes giving room for cleverly executed routines, such as when Lloyd gives the illusion that he is fighting with another person, while in fact only choreographing a fight with his own body; a routine probably borrowed from the stage which had been used by Max Linder in BE MY WIFE the year before.
In sum, DR. JACK may not be regarded as one of Harold Lloyd's very best work, but that reveals more about Lloyd's standard of quality than any significant flaws with this one.
Dr. Jack (1922)
**** (out of 4)
Dr. Jack (Harold Lloyd) is the nicest doctor in town who gets a kick out of helping people in his own strange ways. His latest client is a woman who seems to be healthy but a mean German doctor is making her appeal ill so he can keep collecting from her rich father. This is certainly the best film I've seen from Lloyd. I wouldn't say any of the jokes are hysterical but all of them are very fast paced and come non-stop. The highlight includes one scene where a girl calls Lloyd because "Mary" is dying but when he shows up "Mary" turns out to be her baby doll. Another highlight is the ending, which is a madcap of fast jokes as Lloyd dresses up as a vampire to show the girl isn't sick.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As you may or may not know, many of Keaton's and Lloyd's films were
only about an hour long (more of less), as this was true of most movies
made in the era before the Talkies.
The story is typical of many Lloyd films in that Harold falls for a sweet girl that he hardly knows and by the time the movie is over, he has won her heart! This is a Lloyd cliché and if you forgive this, you'll enjoy the film tremendously. However, one frequently occurring Lloyd touch is not present--his character (Dr. Jack) isn't portrayed as a wuss but as a generally liked and caring country doctor.
Ms. Talmadge is the daughter of a rich man who had been convinced she is very sickly and in need of constant attention from the quack, Dr. Saulsbourg. The family lawyer is a friend of the family and he sees right through this man, so he is pleased when he later meets Dr. Jack and his common-sense approach to medicine. He convinces Jack to drop by and take a look at the girl. Saulsbourg isn't happy about this and does what he can to get rid of Dr. Jack. He almost succeeds until an escaped maniac comes their way. How Dr. Jack actually uses this to his advantage is something you'll just have to see for yourself in this cute flick. After all, it runs at about 60 minutes, so you haven't much to lose!
Although admittedly it has a great deal of charm, by Lloyd's high
standards Dr Jack could be reckoned as a weak, sentimental and even
overloaded comedy. The characters are strictly pasteboard figures: the
ever-smiling Dr Jack, all goodhearted (albeit often ingenious and
innovative) helpfulness; the one-dimensionally villainous specialist,
all thoroughly self-centered pomposity; the heroine, a Sleeping Beauty
of repressed energy and vivacity; her dad, a well-and-truly stupid
thickhead; and a supporting gallery of minor bumpkins and rustics. And
all of them dancing to a frenetic, rather familiar tune (though, as
mentioned, it does have its deft moments and clever touches),
culminating in a self-chasing climax which clearly out-stays its
In its favor, however, the movie does provide Mildred Davis with one of her best roles. Miss Davis rarely received a chance to display any histrionic ability. Her supine heroines were mostly purely decorative. Here, however, she has an opportunity to play a character not a cipher, and she rises to the bait magnificently.
Too often silent films were bogged down with inter-titles, slowing the
action and frequently boring the audience to tears.
Harold Lloyd avoids that, especially in "Dr. Jack."
"Dr. Jack" the movie is a light story, perhaps even silly in spots, but it MOVES, and Dr. Jack the character is such a pleasant and kind and likable person that he overcomes any minor problem like that.
Turner Classic Movies presented this recently with a new score by Robert Israel, who captures the mood perfectly. He is quite the silent film composer, obviously a man of much talent.
For 1922, the acting was great to adequate, and Harold Lloyd is such a graceful and athletic performer that he could alone make this worthwhile; but he is accompanied by many other talented players, so many of whom, alas, don't even get screen credit (although Mickey Daniels, for example, is so recognizable, maybe he doesn't need to be named).
"Dr. Jack" is a lot of fun to watch, in part because you can just watch -- and laugh -- and not have to spend much effort reading.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of my favourites Harold Lloyd films and it contains a really memorable ending. The lovely Mildred Davis is once again the girl (the Sick-Little-Well-Girl) but this time this girl is basically not having a life, the only things she knows is the medicines and the more medicines that the Dr. Ludwig von Saulsbourg (Eric Mayne) gives to her. If you watch this doctor you watch a man who knows that he can do anything since he seems to be really professional for the father of the girl (John T. Prince) who really trusts in him. Basically the Dr. Ludwig von Saulsbourg understands the situation, and he is acting like a professional always thinking in a new possible solution. That the girl has being his patient since long time ago and that he still can't help her is not an impediment for him since, and like I just write, the father of the girl still believes that his daughter will be cure by him. In the other hand we have the character that Harold Lloyd plays and he is a really great character and is absolutely hilarious to watch him doing his job, basically he will help anyone who asks him. I loved one of the first scenes in which we watch Dr. Jackson doing his job: he comes to check a kid who's mother is really worry due to his health however as soon as Dr. Jack arrives the theater of the kid is over. So the doctor made his duty and of course was fair and will be fair if the mother gives a lesson to her kid. Dr. Jack is a unique doctor and is hilarious to watch him saving the kid from some painful smacks on the bottom, at first the kid did not understood but as soon as he realized that Dr. Jack was helping him he began his very good acting to complete the trick to his mother. So by the end of this duty Dr. Jack ended just fine with both the kid and his mother and it was really funny. So we have the good and the bad with Dr. Jack and Dr. Ludwig von Saulsbourg and it will be matter of time to watch both together but not before we watch more of the great methods that Dr. Jack uses to cure his patients. Is marvelous to watch Dr. Jack curing his patients by returning the concept of family to them or just helping sane persons with a problem, for example a girl who needs the money that her father is beating with his pals (a very funny act by Lloyd). Certainly everybody who knows this doctor has a good opinion about him and the son of one of his patients will be the one who will take Dr. Jack with the patient of Dr. Ludwig von Saulsbourg. Before that Dr. Jack and the girl had an encounter and now for Dr. Jack was kind of easy to detect the problem of the girl but things won't be that easy when the father of the girl thinks that Dr. Jack's only interest is to be with his daughter that is true but what the father doesn't know us that love is something that can give a little of life to his daughter. I mentioned very soon that this film contains a really memorable ending just because I really loved it. The girl just needs to feel that she is alive and Dr. Jack will make amazing things to help her and thanks to the announcement that a burglar may be there Dr. Jack will have a chance to do that, he will be the burglar! This is a great sequence showing the ability of Dr. Jack, he really did something great for the girl and of course in the end his worked but at one point the girl understood everything and thanks to that she was convinced that Dr. Jack was just helping her and even she helped him in his plan by dressing also as the burglar that Dr. Jack created. At the end is the smile on the face of the girl what convinces her father that now things will be better. Then I loved this film and I think is all I have to write about it.
This silent film is a real charmer. It relies almost exclusively on the
talents of Harold Lloyd as the eponymous doctor, who sees the world as
a funhouse and treats his patients accordingly. Written by Hal Roach
and others, "Dr. Jack" feels like it was written with Lloyd's talents
in mind. The physicality of the humor, and the sight gags, make this a
perfect vehicle for Lloyd's abilities.
There is a basic story, but "Dr. Jack" is a series of vignettes which demonstrate the doctor's uncommon but "common sense" approach to healing. Best described as holistic, the doctor looks beyond the apparent malady, prescribing whatever a patient truly needs--from fresh air to a hug.
The overly-serious conventions of mainstream medicine are lampooned as is the image of the stuffy practitioner whose gravity only manages to drag down the spirits of those he treats. As we see, the levity of Lloyd is sometimes just what the doctor (should have) ordered.
but that's about it. Mostly blah comedy from Harold Lloyd, but it has its moments. A big hit in 1922 when Lloyd was a major box office star, this comedy about a kindly doctor helping the sick little well girl (Mildred Davis) lumbers along with a few good bits until the frantic ending when a lunatic escapes from an asylum, throwing the house into an uproar. Certainly not among the great Lloyd's best--Safety Last, The Kid Brother, Girl Shy--but still worth the 60 minutes. Anna Townsend (the star of Grandma'a Boy with Lloyd) is the old lady, C. Norman Hammond is the lawyer, Florence Mayon is the hotel girl, Mickey Daniels is the homely boy, and Eric Mayne is the fake doctor. Funny ending, but it comes after too much so-so material. Lloyd is always sweet and gracious, Davis is better than in her other Lloyd films (yes they were married in 1923), and the monkey and dog are quite funny. After his string of early 20s box office hits, Harold Lloyd would make his masterpiece, Safety Last, in 1923, right after finishing Dr. Jack.
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