Husband and wife Americans Dr. Eugene and Mrs. Helen Ferguson - he a renowned neurosurgeon - are traveling through Latin America for a vacation. When they make the decision to return to New...
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Husband and wife Americans Dr. Eugene and Mrs. Helen Ferguson - he a renowned neurosurgeon - are traveling through Latin America for a vacation. When they make the decision to return to New York earlier than expected, they find they are being detained by the military in the country they are in. Ultimately, they learn the reason is that President Raoul Farrago, the tyrannical military dictator of the country, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and will die without an operation to remove it, Farrago choosing Gene as the doctor to lead the surgical team. Because of the volatile politics within the country and for his own safety as revolutionary forces would like to see him dead, Farrago refuses to go to a hospital for the operation, instead it to be done at his home. Despite not particularly liking Farrago or his ways, Gene agrees purely in his oath as a doctor. However, he ends up being caught in the middle between Farrago/his brutal regime and the revolutionaries, each side who is ... Written by
Although great pains were used to disguise the name of the country in the film, Dr. Ferguson mentions that Pres. Farrago should go to a neurological hospital (which he mentions is just across the border) in Chile - which narrows the country down to either Argentina, Bolivia, or Peru. Other hints include: Peso/Dollar law, the blankets worn on the train, license plates on vehicles. See more »
Most IMDb critics claim that this is unlike any other Cary Grant role, but to my eye and ear, his performance was remarkably reminiscent of "Notorious." Agent Devlin was more romantic, to be sure, but Dr. Ferguson is also a cool, calm, rational, and duty-bound man in a political maelstrom: he's a surgeon, vacationing in a banana republic whose tumor-stricken president shanghais him. The result is a trenchant dramatic character-- which Grant does very well.
The screenplay is solid; the direction, camera work, editing, etc.-- competent. But any critic would be remiss not to mention other notable performances. Ramon Novarro and Gilbert Roland always add to a film, of course, but I'd single out two other performers:
The Spanish composer Vicente Gomez graces only one scene, in a café, but he plays a soulful guitar solo that I wanted much, much more of.
And then there's Jose Ferrer. He steals nearly all his scenes as a Latin American dictator with a brain tumor, especially the scene where he watches Grant's amateur surgical team drill into a fake human skull, rehearsing for the brain surgery awaiting the dictator himself tomorrow. When the rehearsal is done, Ferrer is sweating visibly and fumbling with a cigarette. He makes it easy for you to project yourself into that makeshift O.R. with the student surgical team-- you with a brain tumor and a captive surgeon who makes no effort to hide his antipathy.
Of course, Grant has no trouble holding his own in every scene, including that one. "Tell them never to use that instrument on the brain again," he says to his translator. "It might suck a piece right out of the brain." Ferrer hears, of course, and through his sweat he asks, "How did it go?" Grant drops the stitched-up skull in a garbage pail and says, "Oh, it went quite well. But you died."
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