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Doctor John Abbott is a single parent who settles in the town of Westport, with his son Dick, trying to eke out a living for them. He also inherits, by way of his doorstep, an unwanted baby girl, Jean Johnson, whom he adopts into his family, rears and loves as his own. Practicing his profession for pigs, I.O.U.s and a lot of empty promises as payment, he is barely able to provide for his family, yet is successful ultimately. Dr. Abbott is dedicated to the welfare of his community and well-being of his patients (mostly lower class working folks of the rural town), but must battle a group of miserly businessmen at every twist and turn. He encounters resistance by the local bureaucracy for every progressive idea or beneficial proposal, made for the betterment of the community, yet his altruistic optimism is not hampered by the penny-pinching bureaucrats interested more in lining their own pockets, rather than helping the town and its struggling population. Written by
This is a lovely film with a beautiful performance by Edward Ellis as John Abbott, a doctor who practices among the poor and down in their luck in his home town. The film has an interesting pedigree. It's directed by Garson Kanin and written by Dalton Trumbo. It was made in 15 days for $84,000, in less time than scheduled and under its $100,000 budget.
The only print of this that could be found was in the Netherlands, so the subtitles are in Dutch, as are any handwritten notes.
Abbott is a widower with a young son, Dick. They settle in Westport, Connecticut. There is no hospital there, and Abbott works sometimes for pigs, potatoes, whatever he can get.
After he delivers a baby girl to a man whose wife dies while giving birth, he finds that baby on his doorstep. He names her Jean. She grows up to be Anne Shirley, and Dick grows up to be Lee Bowman. And the two become romantically involved. Times have changed - even though they're not related, you'd never see that in a movie today.
One night, Jean's date, Howard Sykes, accidentally shoots her in the arm. It's not serious, but since his father George (Granville Bates) is the richest man in town, Abbott blackmails him into building the hospital. Sykes, in retaliation, makes sure he can't practice there.
Edward Ellis was on Broadway and also was a actor and producer there in the early part of the century; he started in films in 1917 and worked into his seventies. In this movie, he was 68 years old.
A Man to Remember is sentimental and I have to admit I cried, being a sap. It's about a man who, despite disappointments and resistance to his ideas, contributes a great deal to the world and doesn't let anything get him down. We can all take a lesson from a life well lived.
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