In the first movie of the series, we are introduced to the kindly Dr. Christian (Hersholt), who runs the small clinic in the town of River's End. With the town growing, Dr. Christian petitions the mayor for money to build a new hospital. But the mayor believes the good Doctor is too old-fashioned, and wants to replace the doctor with a more "modern" medicine man, along with commissioning a new highway to be built through the town. When the mayor's young daughter is injured in an accident, Dr. Christian is able to perform extremely delicate surgery without having the correct medical instruments. The town counsil is so impressed with Dr. Christian that they not only allow him to keep his job, but have been convinced to build the new hospital. Written by
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »
Jean Hersholt was introduced to the big screen in his most memorable role as Dr. Paul Christian, small town country doctor and jack of all medical trades. He has to be in his small town where another physician is hours away.
In his feature films and on radio where he played Dr. Christian as well, Jean Hersholt represented the idealized image of the country doctor as sure Lionel Barrymore was the noted big city physician. Hersholt certainly has Barrymore beat in the bedside manner department. But both are competent medical professionals.
In this film Hersholt runs afoul of the town's big mover and shaker Paul Harvey despite the fact that Hersholt has been his family physician as well for decades. They clash in the matter of their town of River's End needing a hospital there. Harvey has bigger plans, at least bigger in his mind than a hospital. Some tragedy close to home convinces him that maybe Dr. Christian is right. He also gets a new perspective on how lucky his community is to have Hersholt around.
In real life Jean Hersholt's charitable work was a legend around the film capital and no small wonder that the Motion Picture Academy started a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. That image blends well with the Dr. Christian image conveyed in Meet Dr. Christian and the Dr. Christian films that followed.
I wish all the physicians were as noble and kind as Jean Hersholt was as Dr. Christian.
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