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Gregory La Cava
A brilliant young doctor grows away from his family and his community when his older brother convinces him to make his fortune as a Park Avenue doctor. He spends his time prescribing placebos to people who are not sick leaving no time for his clinic and his passion of genuine healing. When tragedy strikes, he sees where his obligations lie, but will it be too late? Written by
Sister Grimm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My boy, there are two kinds of men in our profession. Some are gifted with the spark of genius; some of us are... just doctors.
[walks to the door and opens it, then turns back toward Felix]
Felix Klauber, you're more capable than I, but if you don't go through with this operation, I will.
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Like a good soup, there are many elements to this movie. You first have to start with a good stock. The stock in this movie is the Lower East Side of New York in the 30's. The hustle and bustle, the rag pickers, the pushcarts, the tailors, the fishmongers. The whole flavor of life in the Jewish ghetto. Without this backdrop the movie would fall flat.
Next are the ingredients. The cast in this movie is genuine and almost flawless. Gregory Ratoff as the father, Ricardo Cortez (Jacob Krantz) as his son - the doctor, and Noel Madison as the ambitious brother. They are all authentic and they are all Jewish. I said almost flawless because there is one flaw. Irene Dunne is cast as the love interest. She is a good actress, but she is clearly a shiksa in looks, speech, and mannerism. She stood out like a pork chop amongst the knishes and kugels.
Finally, none of this would matter if somebody didn't know how to cook. The story isn't original - as a matter of fact it is still being done today. A young boy grows up in poverty. A poor but nourishing neighborhood. He is part of a loving family which supports him in his quest to become a doctor. He succeeds and decides to devote his life to helping the underclass in the ghetto. His brother, meanwhile, becomes a successful businessman and convinces him that he should move "uptown" in order to make more money and help the family. He moves up the social ladder, becomes a raging success, and is celebrated by the rich and famous. Through a series of tragedies it becomes clear to him that he has lost his roots. It is only here,at the very end, that we have to give the director (probably at the direction of the producer David O. Selznick) a little melodramatic license. This movie was made in 1932 and drama was the order of the day.
You want subtle - watch something else. You want to choke up and feel good. Watch this.
Note: Although it was entirely unintentional, and could not have been imagined, there is an uncanny connection between the title of this movie and the holocaust which came to light a decade later. Six Million.
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