7.5/10
1,092
27 user 8 critic

Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 2 March 1940 (USA)
True story of the doctor who considered it was not immoral to search for a drug that would cure syphillis.

Director:

Writers:

(original screen play), (original screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

WAYS TO
WATCH:

See all
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The biography of the pioneering French microbiologist who helped revolutionize agriculture and medicine.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Paul Muni, Josephine Hutchinson, Anita Louise
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

82 year old inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison is honored in 1929 and he reflects back on his sixty year career of scientific achievement.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson, Lynne Overman
Sister Kenny (1946)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Elizabeth Kenny, as a young nurse out in the Australian bush discovers an effective treatment for polio, but can't get official recognition or sanction for her techniques and theories. For ... See full summary »

Director: Dudley Nichols
Stars: Rosalind Russell, Alexander Knox, Dean Jagger
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Inventor Thomas Edison's boyhood is chronicled and shows him as a lad whose early inventions and scientific experiments usually end up causing disastrous results. As a result, the towns ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Mickey Rooney, Fay Bainter, George Bancroft
Madame Curie (1943)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Despite himself, accomplished physicist and avowed bachelor Pierre Curie falls for brilliant student Marie, and together they embark on the discovery of radium.

Directors: Mervyn LeRoy, Albert Lewin
Stars: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Henry Travers
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The first female doctor in New York City comes up against prejudice from male counterparts who feel threatened by her skills. Eventually, though, they come to respect her and romance ... See full summary »

Director: John Sturges
Stars: June Allyson, Arthur Kennedy, Gary Merrill
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Chris Hunter kills an intruder and tells her husband and lawyer it was an act of self-defense. It's later revealed that he was actually her lover and she had posed for an incriminating ... See full summary »

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Ann Sheridan, Lew Ayres, Zachary Scott
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Humble Abraham Lincoln gains the respect of his Illinois neighbors, growing in stature and respect until he is elected President in 1860 and departs for Washington.

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Raymond Massey, Gene Lockhart, Ruth Gordon
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pollster stumbles on a family of murderous hillbillies, and joins in their search for hidden treasure.

Director: George Marshall
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Helen Walker, Marjorie Main
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A bored WWI veteran helps out a young woman, who believes her uncle is being held hostage.

Director: F. Richard Jones
Stars: Ronald Colman, Claud Allister, Lawrence Grant
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A rich businessman wants to marry his secretary, but first he has to pass muster with her middle-class family.

Director: Reinhold Schünzel
Stars: Robert Young, Lana Turner, Lew Ayres
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Helen and Ken are a pretty strange couple. She is a pathological liar, and he is a scrupulously honest (and therefore unsuccessful) lawyer. Helen starts a new job, and when her employer is ... See full summary »

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, John Barrymore
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Maria Ouspenskaya ...
Montagu Love ...
Sig Ruman ...
Dr. Hans Wolfert (as Sig Rumann)
...
Mittelmeyer
Henry O'Neill ...
Dr. Lentz
Albert Bassermann ...
Edward Norris ...
Dr. Morgenroth
...
Judge
...
Dr. Brockdorf
Louis Jean Heydt ...
Dr. Kunze
...
Sensenbrenner
Edit

Storyline

Dr. Paul Ehrlich was the German physician who developed the first synthetic antimicrobial drug, 606 or Salvarsan. The film describes how Ehrlich first became interested in the properties of the then-new synthetic dyes and had an intuition that they could be useful in the diagnosis of bacterial diseases. After this work met with success, Ehrlich proposed that synthetic compounds could be made to selectively target and destroy disease causing microorganisms. He called such a drug a "magic bullet". The film describes how in 1908, after 606 attempts, he succeeded. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HE DREAMED THE GREATEST ADVENTURE MAN HAD EVER KNOWN...and made that dream come true! (original print ad - mostly caps) See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Doktor Ehrlich  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Dr. Paul Ehrlich's family was so happy with Edward G. Robinson's portrayal of him that they gave Robinson a letter written by Dr. Ehrlich. See more »

Goofs

When Rhineland Chemical is shipping boxes of 606 to cities around the world, one box is labeled "St. Mary's Hospital, Sidney, Australia." A second box to a different hospital shows the city correctly spelled as Sydney. See more »

Quotes

Defense Attorney: So while no cures can be attributed to '606,' 38 deaths resulted from it's use?
Dr. Emil Von Behring: 39.
Defense Attorney: 39? You know of another death?
Dr. Emil Von Behring: Yes, syphilis. The death of syphilis itself.
Dr. Hans Wolfert: Dr. von Behring you have written and lectured against the Ehrlich theory.
Dr. Emil Von Behring: Yes, I did, Dr. Wolfert, but you must understand it is the task of science to discover the truth. There is no shame attached to the recognition of error.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Thank You Mask Man (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Wein, Weib und Gesang, Op. 333 (Wine, Women and Song)
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
Played when Paul and Hedy dance
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Biographical Melodrama Well Done
15 July 2005 | by (South Florida) – See all my reviews

How I long for the era when Hollywood was capable of producing films based upon the lives of great scientists and physicians. Current moguls may consider the material too trite, but that just proves how they misjudge quality cinema.

Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet is a great old biographical melodrama that probably does overstate certain emotional moments, nonetheless it helps recall the bigger-than-life accomplishments of scientists who otherwise would be forgotten.

Edward G. Robinson, though apparently too mature for the role, knew a good script when he read it, and ended up with the finest performance of his long career. Credit goes to the Warner Studio, too, for making a film about the cure for syphilis when even the mention of the disease was prohibited in motion pictures. Those who enjoy films like Edison, The Man will find this more involved with science and less with personal matters than the MGM/Spencer Tracy epic.

This is grand Warner's entertainment with a lesson or two for all of us.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?