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Dr. Bull is an old-fashioned country doctor whose affair with the widow Janet Cardmaker is creating waves in the small town where he practices. When there is a mysterious outbreak of typhoid which the doctor is slow in reacting to, it all comes to a head. The townspeople hold an emergency meeting and decide to give Dr. Bull the sack and bring in a new doctor. Dr. Bull must find a way to save his job, his reputation, and a young man's life, whom all other practitioners have written off as a permanent invalid. Written by
In the book, there are discussions about abortion between Doctor Bull and Virginia Banning. These were dropped from the script after a complaint from the Hays Office. In the movie, there is just a vague notion she is pregnant. Also, the character of Larry Ward had a venereal disease in the book, but in the film he's just a hypochondriac. See more »
"Doctor Bull brings his neighbors into the world and postpones their departure as long as possible. He prescribes common sense and accepts his small rewards gratefully. His patients call him Doc." See more »
"Doctor Bull" is Ford's first of three collaborations with Will Rogers. Much like their later pictures, it combines humor and drama with greater emphasis on dialogue and performance rather than narrative. Mr. Ford admired Rogers' folksy charm and found in him a figure whose moral wisdom perfectly matched with his own. In these leisurely and unpretentious pictures, Rogers is successfully a healer and reconciler, but, like most of Ford's subsequent protagonists, he is also a melancholy and lonely figure.
Though it is nowhere near the charm, subtlety and enduring greatness of "Judge Priest"(1934) & "Steamboat 'Round the Bend"(1935), "Doctor Bull" is nonetheless worth seeing for Mr. Rogers' loving portrayal of a small-town Connecticut doctor combating typhus and narrow-mindedness.
It is interesting to note that in the same year Rogers starred in another whiff of Americana - Henry King's lovely and often underrated "State Fair."
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