5.9/10
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The Flame Within (1935)

Psychiatrist finds herself falling for her patient.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Dr. Gordon Phillips
...
Linda Belton
...
Jack Kerry
Henry Stephenson ...
Dr. Jock Frazier
Margaret Seddon ...
Mrs. Ida Grenfell
George Hassell ...
Mr. Rigby
Eily Malyon ...
Murdock, Lillian's Housekeeper
Isabelle Keith ...
Nurse Carter (as Claudelle Kaye)
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Storyline

Wealthy Lillian Belton attempts suicide by taking a drug overdose, so her physician, Gordon Phillips, sends her to psychiatrist Mary White for treatment. Lillian calls Jack Kerry from Mary's office and then tries to jump out of the window, being stopped by Mary, who learns that Jack is the reason for Lillian's distress. Jack is an alcoholic and doesn't care for Lillian, who loves him dearly. Mary convinces Jack to enter a rehabilitation program to cure his alcoholism. After some setbacks and eight months, Jack is apparently cured, but has developed a strong attachment to Mary, who reminds him that Lillian's dependence on him is just as strong. So Lillian and Jack are married and are apparently happy. Meanwhile, Gordon has been trying to persuade Mary to give up her practice and marry him, but Mary feels she's too devoted to her practice to give it up. At a costume ball, Jack tells Mary he loves her and that she also must love him. As they dance, Lillian gets intensely jealous, ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

17 May 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Corações em Duelo  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film received its initial USA telecast in Los Angeles Wednesday 19 December 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11); its Philadelphia television premiere took place Tuesday 22 January 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6) and in San Francisco it was first seen 4 February 1958 on KGO-TV (Channel 7); its earliest documented telecast in New York City presently stands at 2:15 AM on the morning of 24 February 1963 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »

Connections

Featured in Complicated Women (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's amazing to see how the profession has changed for the better!
24 May 2016 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Dr. Mary White (Ann Harding) and Dr. Gordon Phillips (Herbert Marshall) have been dating for a very long time and although Gordon clearly loves her, she seems a bit cold about their getting married. Some of this is because of the common expectation in the 1930s that a woman give up her career when she marries--and she worked her butt off to be a psychiatrist. Into this atmosphere of ambivalence comes a suicidal and very neurotic woman (Maureen O'Sullivan). The lady has repeatedly attempted suicide because the relationship with her boyfriend is so dysfunctional and she deals with his alcoholism by these wild suicide attempts. Her new doctor, Mary, decides that unless she also treats the boyfriend (Louis Hayward) then the suicidal woman will eventually succeed in trying to off herself.

Despite some hiccups, Mary is able to work with the boyfriend and get him to stop drinking and become productive. This is good news and now he and his girlfriend can marry. But there is bad news--he and Mary are struggling with feelings towards each other...and they sure ain't professional feelings!!

The notion of a psychiatrist and patient having romantic feelings towards each other is an interesting topic...especially since it's the biggest reason a psychotherapist would lose their license today. It's completely taboo for a therapist to have such a relationship and it's 100% unprofessional. However, back in the early days of the field, the rules weren't so clear--and here both entertain the notion of having a relationship even though he's married and she's been engaged forever. Investigating how his transference and her counter-transference (the commonly used terms for this sort of thing) takes place and is professionally handled would have been interesting. Unfortunately, the film isn't sure what to do about this and makes it all very sappy and romantic...and utterly ridiculous. Especially ridiculous is Gordon who feels the best thing to do is give Mary to her patient and walk away. This is unprofessional, unethical and, frankly, no one is THAT noble. So how does it all work out? Well, unfortunately, in a very silly and Hollywood way...hence my score of only 3. The film brings up interesting topics...it just doesn't handle them very well!


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