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Alias the Doctor
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Alias the Doctor More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Magnificent obsession

Author: dbdumonteil
7 September 2009

They don't do melodramas such as this one anymore.Had Sirk seen it in the fifties,he would perhaps have thought of a remake .There's everything in this short movie (hardly more than an hour):two brothers,both students, one of them studying day after day to get his diploma,the other one wasting his time with alcohol and semi-whores .Both come from the country,but only the "bad" boy is the true son of the peasant mother who dreams of a better life for her son(s).All that follows is melodrama ,only melodrama and nothing but melodrama:the good boy unfairly thrown into jail ,imposture (but do not panic ,for good reasons)the good doctor who cures the poor for peanuts and charges the wealthy outrageously ,who is a saint in a hospital ,but who's got secrets to conceal.The only ambiguous character is the mother:does she urge his son to take his brother's name for the sake of suffering humanity or for personal ambition? Probably both.

Best scene:Barthelmess ,screaming in front of the medical board :" let me operate her!She's my mother! don't be inhuman! I'm the only one she puts her trust in!".If you hold back your tears ,you do not like melodramas.I do love them.Michael Curtiz wanted to be John M.Stahl and he pulled it off brilliantly.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Dr! No!

Author: writers_reign
14 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You'd need degrees in disciplines other than mine to figure out why a natural and gifted surgeon would yearn to throw away his scalpel and spend his days sitting behind a mule and a plough just as he himself could use a degree in Common Sense which may have prevented him making some of the choices he did make. Consider the plot: Karl (Richard Barthelmess) and Stephan (Norman Foster) Brenner enter medical school together. Though they have the same name Karl has been adopted by Martha Brenner (Lucille La Verne) and raised with Stephan and his sister Lotti (Marian Marsh). Karl wants nothing more than to remain on the farm and marry Lotti but enrols in med school anyway. He is clearly a 'born' doctor and a diligent student whereas Stephan prefers a more playboy lifestyle. Shortly before graduation Stephan appears in Karl's rooms and confesses he has operated illegally on a girlfriend who became ill. He begs Karl to sort out the mess. Karl (see what I mean about Common Sense) agrees, does what he can but is too late to save the girl. When a real doctor turns up Karl takes the rap for Stephan, sticks to his story in court, doesn't get to graduate and serves four years hard time in the slammer. Four years pass; Stephan has his shingle on the door of the old homestead but his patients are dropping like flies due to his incompetence and alcoholism. He drinks himself to death shortly before Karl gets out of the slammer. Karl has been back all of five minutes when an automobile wraps itself around a tree in the yard. A young girl is badly injured. Her father sees the shingle and assumes that Karl is Stephan i.e. a licensed physician. Martha and Lotti prevail on Karl to operate against his better judgment (Common Sense anyone). He does so and the girl recovers. The father has meanwhile sent for his own physician, a big cheese in Vienna. The guy arrives, examines the patient, also assumes Karl is Stephan, congratulates him and asks where and with what equipment he operated. Why, right here, replies Karl, I didn't have much in the way of tools but I did have a Swiss Army Knife with a thing for taking stones out of horse's hooves. You're the Man, say the kosher doctor, come with me to Vienna and I'll make you a star. Here we may like to consider that it's only four years since Karl's picture was all over the National Press and soon it is again, this time as Stephan Brenner, when he performs miracle after miracle. Finally he calls time, proposes to Lotti and says he's coming back to the plough; Martha blows the whistle in a letter to the medical Board, changes her mind, is unable to retrieve it and has a stroke. As he is about to operate the Board cancel the surgery. Ya gotta let me save my ma, he cries passionately. They relent, he does, and the last shot is of one happy bunny ploughing the ass out of that bottom land. This was an early talkie and everyone acts accordingly, hamming it up in a way that would put even Jolie to shame. On the other hand it's an early example of Michael Curtiz' work (with uncredited help from Lloyd Bacon) behind the camera and has definite curio value.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Teaching tool

Author: kcfl-1 from United States
23 November 2014

This could be used in a film class to demonstrate how to make a perfect one-hour movie. All the elements combine brilliantly:

• The expressionistic design of Anton Grot

• The "telling" visual style of directors Michael Curtiz and Lloyd Bacon. The final operation alone is as perfectly shot as the shower scene in "Psycho."

• The acting. Richard Barthelmess shows why he was the best pre-Code actor; Lucile LaVerne is a revelation to me; and everyone else in smaller parts does a bang-up job.

Also interesting as a display of state-of-the-art medicine in the early 1930's.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Mother Love is Pushed to the Limit!!

Author: kidboots from Australia
28 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Richard Barthelmess was one of the silent's top stars and unlike a lot of his contemporaries, talkies didn't faze him. He retained his popularity (and a massive salary, apparently $8,500 a week) and for a few years, with interesting characterizations, he managed to stay in the top 10 lists. But once he started to slip, First National obviously couldn't justify his high salary and he left at the same time as William Powell and Ruth Chatterton.

This role, as good brother Karl Bremer, proved interesting and showed the type of part he excelled at. Both he and "bad brother" Stephan are soon to graduate from an Austrian medical school but while Karl is diligent, Stephan is a frequenter of taverns. Things turn dramatic when Stephan performs an illegal operation on a girl who he has assaulted, she dies and Carl takes the blame so Stephan can graduate and make his mother proud. When Carl is released from prison, it's to find Stephan dead - he had remained a drunkard and never succeeded in elevating himself from his small, out of the way practice, where his incompetence had become a by-word!!

Mother is played by Lucille La Verne so you know she is not going to be a hearts and flowers type but push mother love to the limits!! A car accident forces Carl to operate successfully on a small child and that is all Mother Brennar needs to persuade Carl to take on Stephan's identity and keep practising medicine - who cares if Carl doesn't have a diploma and if found out could very well return to prison!!!

Norman Foster has a smallish role as Stephan but unlike a lot of his "callow youth" roles he made this one count and impressed as the worthless brother. Marian Marsh as usual was given a scene (the one where she stands up to her mother and tells her that she doesn't need a marriage certificate and will happily go with Carl where-ever he decides). A scene that proved even with her drop dead gorgeous looks, she had a talent that should have been developed. Adrienne Dore for all her 4th billing has only a couple of lines of dialogue - she was another who had the looks and personality to go further than she did!!

Highly Recommended.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Plow and the Scalpel

Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
30 November 2014

He's happiest while manning the plow on his Austrian farm, but brilliant student Richard Barthelmess (as Karl Brenner) goes to medical school in Munich. A naturally gifted surgeon, Mr. Barthelmess is named valedictorian of his graduating class. Unfortunately, a tragedy occurs just before Barthelmess graduates. He takes the rap for his irresponsible foster brother Norman Foster (as Stephan Brenner) after the latter gets drunk and botches an operation on a female companion. Barthelmess is later mistaken for his brother and takes his place as country doctor, after a freaky accident threatens the life of a young boy. Upon saving the kid's life, Barthelmess is offered a big job in the city. However, he must pretend to be his foster brother, which is not legal...

The long shots introducing Barthelmess' character, by director Michael Curtiz (or, possibly, Lloyd Bacon) and photographer Lee Garmes get this off to an artful start. Later, set work by Anton Grot keeps it looking good. In college, Barthelmess and foster brother Foster are amusing, with the latter successfully impersonating a perpetually partying student. We do wonder, however, how Foster was able to obtain a medical license. Raised like they were brother and sister, Barthelmess and foster sister Marian Marsh (as Lotti) are ill-suited young lovers. Veteran Lucille La Verne makes the most of the mother role. And, Nigel de Brulier is mystifying but terrific as a silent, menacing autopsy surgeon. Alas, as a story, "Alias the Doctor" is not very convincing.

***** Alias the Doctor (2/25/32) Michael Curtiz ~ Richard Barthelmess, Marian Marsh, Norman Foster, Lucille La Verne

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