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The Great Moment (1944)

Passed  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  6 September 1944 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 643 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 16 critic

The biography of Dr. W. T. Morgan, a 19th century Boston dentist, during his quest to have anesthesia, in the form of ether, accepted by the public and the medical and dental establishment.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Betty Field ...
...
...
Eben Frost
Louis Jean Heydt ...
Julius Tannen ...
Professor Charles T. Jackson (as Julian Tannen)
...
Vice-President of Medical Society
Porter Hall ...
...
Dr. Heywood
Grady Sutton ...
Homer Quimby
Donivee Lee ...
Betty Morton
Harry Hayden ...
Judge Shipman
Torben Meyer ...
Dr. Dahlmeyer
Victor Potel ...
First Dental Patient (as Vic Potel)
Thurston Hall ...
Senator Borland
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Storyline

In the winter of 1868, Eben Frost goes to a Boston pawnshop and redeems a silver medal, inscribed to "Dr. W.T.G. Morton, the Benefactor of Mankind, with the Gratitude of Humanity." Frost drives to a country farmhouse and gives the medal to Morton's widow, Elizabeth Morton who explains to her daughter, Betty, that Frost was the first person given anesthesia by her father, Boston dentist Dr. W.T.G. Morton. The story flashes back 20 years to find Morton being wildly acclaimed by medical students as the man whose discovery of "letheon" had forever ended pain as, before that day, even amputations were performed with the patient fully conscious. "Letheron", unknown to everybody but Morton and Elizabeth, is simply highly rectified sulfuric ether - cleaning fluid - easily obtainable at a pharmacy. By keeping the secret, Dr. Morton could be rich, but he had rather be poor than see a girl strapped to an operating table under the knife of Dr. Warren, and he reveals his secret to a group of ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Paramount's escapist laugh tonic! Hilarious as a whiff of laughing gas!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 September 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran momento  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sturges intended this to be a much more serious film. Panicked by some inconclusive reviews, Paramount cut it as a traditional Sturges comedy. The director, no longer associated with the studio, asked former friend and studio chief Frank Freeman to entitle the film "Triumph Over Pain," and he wrote and offered to write, direct, and appear in a prologue gratis. Paramount did not want to expend the additional $50,000 this would incur, and they ignored his offer. See more »

Quotes

Eben Frost: It was the night of September 30th. I was in excruciating pain.
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User Reviews

 
An oddity from a genius
30 December 2006 | by (Edmonton, Canada) – See all my reviews

I can't add much to wmorrow59's excellent summary. It caught the strengths and weaknesses of this film and provided excellent historical background. Be sure to read it.

This film is only worth watching if you're a Preston Sturges fanatic (like me) and are willing to sit through his one failure as well as his many triumphs. I have a hunch that the studio meddling accounts for much of the trouble -- the movie's pace and structure are erratic at best -- but I also fear that our man Preston may have wandered too far from his natural path as a filmmaker. This is no buried treasure. Sturges's cut may have been an improvement, but I don't see the makings of a good movie here. The dialogue is weird when it isn't plain awful, the protagonist is a pigheaded dimwit, and the moments of slapstick are wildly misplaced.

If you buy Turner's incredible 7-film Sturges box set, do so for the other six titles -- all of them masterpieces.


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