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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 <email@example.com>
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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Intriguing, beautifully made, with a miscast but game Dunne
The scenes on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the 1930s are very convincing. The Jewish family in which Ricardo Cortez is a prodigy are too. The mama, played by Anna Appel, presages Molly Goldberg: "Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Fishbein," she calls out. Everything about the milieu seems authentic. (I'm not saying a 1932 film was shot on location but the setting was lovingly recreated.) Cortez, without his Latin-lover makeup and mannerisms, is very believable. I like him always. His name here is Felix and, though he plays a more somber than usual character here, it fits: His nearly omnipresent grin can remind one of Felix the Cat.
Gregory Ratoff is excellent as the stubborn patriarch of the household.
I watched it essentially because of my enduring fondness for Irene Dunne. (Director Gregory La Cava was no slouch either. His movies, especially the early ones like this, are always worthwhile.) Dunne plays a character named Jessica. Forgive me if I'm wrong but this does not sound like a name one would have been likely to encounter in the Jewish "ghetto," as the characters keep calling the neighborhood. She plays a teacher of blind children who limps.
She has very little to do and she acquits herself well. It seems like a waste of her special talents, though, and somewhat intrusive miscasting.
Nevertheless, the movie is touching and at times amusing. It's a rarity in its (generally) direct portrayal of lower-class Jewish life at the early part of the last century.
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