IMDb > The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939)

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


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Down 16% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
a Kildare a day 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?

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


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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
a Kildare a day, 14 June 2004
Author: Terrasa Ulm (tulm) from Massachusetts

"The Secret of Dr. Kildare" shines as a multi-threaded gem, typical of the Kildare series. And this time the master may teach his pupil, but the pupil has a lesson of his own to give the great Dr. Gillespie. Three main twists populate this inviting plot, all of which come together in a heart warming conclusion, in true Dr. Kildare fashion. The first centers on the mysterious symptoms of a wealthy young female patient. The second involves the progression of the cantankerous Dr. Gillespie's illness. And the third focuses on the sudden, terminal diagnosis of Dr. Stephen Kildare. Our poor young doctor certainly has his hands full in this well paced and droll mystery. And while Dr. Kildare may be keeping lots of secrets in this one, he is certainly not the only one.

The interwoven plot lines keep the viewer entertained with anticipation and concern; however, Lionel Barrymore's outstanding performance as the cranky, brilliant, and always lovable Dr. Gillespie really steals the show. Lew Ayres offers a convincing and commendable job as the altruistic protege, while Laraine Day provides a lovely and supportive co-star, shining in a particularly touching bedside scene with Barrymore. But it cannot be said too often that this film gains so much from _all_ of the characters involved -- from Kildare's amiable parents, to the inexorable Head Nurse Byrd and the doctors' ever copacetic assistant, Conover. The conclusion ties the story lines together with typical charming optimism, but then if you aren't watching these films as part of the doctor's feel-good prescription, then you might be missing the point.

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