Meet Dr. Christian (1939) Poster

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Good family comedy
jashobeam526 March 2004
I missed the first 15 minutes of this movie, but easily fell into the plot. The story follows a beloved Dr. Christian who runs the health department in a small town. He seeks to build a hospital, but is turned down by the mayor. The mayor decided that a highway would better suit the town than a new hospital. All this is upset when the mayor's little daughter is injured and needs an operation.

The little daughter of the mayor is a stand out character. The part is well cast and very funny. At one point she meddles in her teen brother's love life by trying to give his rival the mumps. When she can't seem to get the rival to lick a mump infested sucker, she licks it herself and kisses him on the lips. Her brother never finds out, and ends up jilting the girl he had been chasing. The movie spends more time on the brother's love life than that of the little girl, but the girl's adventures are much more entertaining.

This movie is worth renting and watching with the whole family. Unlike some old movies, this movie is timeless enough (love for family, meddling little siblings, puppy love) for most ages to enjoy.
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Noble and kind
bkoganbing19 April 2015
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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A film with practically no plot at all...but relax,...the series does get better.
MartinHafer23 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is the fifth of the six Dr. Christian movies I have seen. Unfortunately, this one was produced by Alpha Video--a company with a very poor track record on DVD quality. Not surprisingly, the copy I saw was fuzzy and the sound rather low. I've seen far worse Alpha films, but I have long noticed that they never do restoration work on the films (not that I could notice, at least). However, in some cases this is the only source for a film. If you can find one from another DVD manufacturer, I say try that one first. I appreciate what films Alpha brings us...I just am not thrilled with the prints.

This is the first of the series and because the films were all made so close together, they have unusually good continuity--with the same basic cast throughout the run. In addition, this was a radio series and TV series in the 1950s.

Oddly, unlike the other five films, this one doesn't really seem to have much in the way of plot. There are plot elements, but no real theme. Sure, Dr. Christian is a nice guy and his patient's keep him dirt poor partly because they are poor and partly because the good doctor is so gosh-darn selfless. Some themes that come up during the film are a bratty (and creepy) little girl who is in love, the object of her affection (a teen boy) falling for Christian's nurse, the need for a hospital, an intransigent town council and an introduction to some of the town's people and their uninteresting problems (such as the town hypochondriac). Naturally, by the end, they all work themselves out and everyone FINALLY appreciates Christian--at least until the next film!

Because of this meandering nature, this is clearly one of the weakest film in the series--though the sixth one is worse because of all the sappy singing (uggh). It's all pleasant enough, but not especially deep or memorable and the writing, at times, seems a bit broad. Also, considering how good some of the later films are, it's worth seeing this film--just remember that they do get better.

By the way, is it just me or do the people of Christian's small town all seem just a bit selfish in all the movies? They always seem to take the good doctor for granted. Just once, I wanted to see him refuse to treat a patient, call people names, curse or leave to open a practice in a more deserving town!! Just my two cents' worth.
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A fun, enjoyable movie with the ever personable Jean Hersholt
Paularoc19 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Today we have Dr. House; the late 1930s until the mid-50s were luckier for it was Dr. Christian (in films, on radio and on television) that was everybody's favorite doctor. Dr. Christian is a small time doctor who often accepts produce (usually tomatoes) as payment from his patients in lieu of money. This is to the chagrin of his housekeeper Mrs. Hastings (nicely played by Maude Eburne). The doctor's only source of steady income is his work as doctor for the local factory (a job he loses) and as the town's health commissioner. It is the doctor's and other town peoples' dream that the town, River's Edge, have its own hospital. Influential factory owner John Hewitt is the new efficient take-charge mayor. Good things happen for the town but not a new hospital. Hewitt (Paul Harvey) thinks Dr. Christian is inefficient and spends too much money as health commissioner and summarily and publicly fires him. However, when Dr. Christian saves the life of his daughter, Hewitt is finally appreciative of Dr. Christian's skill. A side story line is the teenage Don Hewitt's on again, off again romance with fickle Marilee and the interference of his sister (the same little girl later saved by Dr. Christian). Hewitt's daughter is a fun character – the fight scene at the beginning of the movie and the episode with her trying to give her brother's rival the mumps are especially good. She steals every scene she's in. While Dr. Christian's forgiving, chronically positive nature seems too good to be true, it is still nice to think that both great skill and compassion can go hand-in-hand. Hersholt plays the character perfectly.
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