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Robert Z. Leonard
A dedicated young doctor places his patients above everyone else in his life. Unfortunately, his social register fianceé can't accept the fact that he considers an appointment in the operating room more important that attending a cocktail party. He soon drifts into an affair with a pretty nurse who shares his passion for healing. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although this treatment of Sidney Kingsley's first Broadway play tends to be melodramatic in spots, Men In White holds up very well for a work almost 80 years old. Men In White ran during the 1933-34 season on Broadway for 351 performances and made Sidney Kingsley a force to be reckoned with. His next play was Dead End, destined to be another screen classic.
A year later Clark Gable would not have gotten this part. His fellow MGM star Robert Taylor got his first big break playing a doctor in Magnificent Obsession and shortly afterward Taylor could not get out of hospital whites as Louis B. Mayer kept casting him as an idealistic young physician that Gable is in this film.
Gable is considered to have a brilliant future as world respected doctor Jean Hersholt has taken him under his wing. His long hours and low pay at this point is cramping the style of his society girl friend Myrna Loy. When he's forced to stay at the hospital on a case one time too many for her they quarrel and Gable is attracted to Elizabeth Allan a nurse who just worships the ground he walks on. One quick evening and she's pregnant. That leads to tragedy.
Although Gable and Loy are good, this film belongs to Elizabeth Allan who came over from the United Kingdom and would be going back in a few years as well. Her most famous role was as the mother of David Copperfield over at MGM. Although it gets melodramatic at times, I guarantee her predicament and how she handles it will moisten many an eye when you see Men In White.
With her pregnancy out of wedlock as it were the Code now in place gave MGM some strict parameters. Nevertheless this film still is a reminder of what women faced in dealing with back alley abortionists, not a subject often dealt with in films. Sidney Kingsley would return again to it when he wrote The Detective Story.
Jean Hersholt gave film fans a preview of what to expect when he played the brilliant Dr. Hochberg. Later on he would be the movies Dr. Christian and while Christian was a simple country physician and Hochberg one of medicine's elite, Hersholt was simple, unaffected, and dedicated.
Men In White probably could use a remake as the Code is now lifted and certain subjects can be discussed more freely. But it would be hard to get a cast as good, especially Elizabeth Allan.
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