IMDb > The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939)

The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939) More at IMDbPro »


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Max Brand (story)
Willis Goldbeck (writer)
View company contact information for The Secret of Dr. Kildare on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 November 1939 (USA) See more »
Dr. Gillespie's cancer has gotten worse, and to force him to take a rest instead of pursuing a sulfa-drug/pneumonia study... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
"You gave me a hypo, didn't you?" See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Lew Ayres ... Dr. James 'Jimmy' Kildare

Lionel Barrymore ... Dr. Leonard Barry Gillespie

Lionel Atwill ... Paul Messenger
Helen Gilbert ... Nancy Messenger

Nat Pendleton ... Joe Wayman

Laraine Day ... Nurse Mary Lamont
Sara Haden ... Nora
Samuel S. Hinds ... Dr. Stephen Kildare
Emma Dunn ... Mrs. Martha Kildare
Walter Kingsford ... Dr. S.J. Carew

Grant Mitchell ... John Xerxes Archley
Alma Kruger ... Head Nurse Molly Byrd
Robert Kent ... Charles Herron
Marie Blake ... Sally - Telephone Operator
Martha O'Driscoll ... Mrs. Roberts
Nell Craig ... Nurse 'Nosey' Parker
George Reed ... Conover
Frank Orth ... Mike Sullivan
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Walter Baldwin ... Finch (uncredited)

Don 'Red' Barry ... Collins - Intern (uncredited)
George Chandler ... Pay Orderly (uncredited)
Tom Collins ... Dr. Joiner (uncredited)
Alec Craig ... Telephone Repair Man (uncredited)
Byron Foulger ... Hospital Attendant (uncredited)
Mitchell Lewis ... Adam - Nora's Gardener (uncredited)
Matt McHugh ... Messenger's Chauffeur (uncredited)
Emory Parnell ... Policeman on Gaylor Ave. (uncredited)
William Tannen ... Bates - Intern (uncredited)
Joe Yule ... Lunch Room Counterman (uncredited)

Directed by
Harold S. Bucquet 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Max Brand  story
Willis Goldbeck  writer
Harry Ruskin  writer

Produced by
Lou L. Ostrow .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
David Snell 
Cinematography by
Alfred Gilks 
Film Editing by
Frank E. Hull  (as Frank Hull)
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Set Decoration by
Edwin B. Willis 
Production Management
Charles Stallings .... unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles Dorian .... second unit director (uncredited)
Horace Hough .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Randall Duell .... associate art director
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Dolly Tree .... wardrobe
Other crew
Frank Clarke .... pilot (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
84 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Finland:S | Sweden:Btl | USA:Approved | USA:TV-G | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

Sally, Telephone Operator:Oh, diamonds on men are vulgar.
Joe Wayman:I wish I was vulgar...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Followed by Dr. Kildare's Victory (1942)See more »


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
"You gave me a hypo, didn't you?", 22 December 2014
Author: utgard14 from USA

The third movie in the wonderful Dr. Kildare series from MGM finds Jimmy Kildare (Lew Ayres) trying to help a rich man's daughter who's having some kind of psychological problems that have led to a case of hysterical blindness. Meanwhile, Kildare must also deal with both his father (Samuel S. Hinds) and mentor, Dr. Gillespie (Lionel Barrymore), having illnesses. Gillespie's still fighting his cancer and refusing to rest. Kildare, Sr. is visiting a heart specialist without telling Jimmy.

Ayres and Barrymore are both great. Barrymore's Gillespie gives some tough love to an alcoholic with one of my favorite outbursts of his ("If you drink, it's your own fault and you can't blame your poor ancestors!"). The cast of regulars, including Laraine Day and Nat Pendleton, are terrific. None of them hit a bad note. Pretty Helen Gilbert is the girl with hysterical blindness. She does fine. Lionel Atwill is somewhat wasted as her father. I kept expecting to find out her condition was caused by some mad science experiment of his but, alas, no such luck. Sara Haden and Grant Mitchell also appear in small roles.

It's not the strongest entry in the series but it is enjoyable. One interesting tidbit is that Gillespie refers to hospital head Dr. Carew (Walter Kingsford) as the best doctor in the hospital. Carew is usually displayed in the series as more of a bureaucrat than a competent doctor, let alone 'the best.' It was a nice touch for them to add a layer to the character, even if it's little more than lip service.

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