Another of the "Fate and Irony" films from director-writer-producer-actor Hugo Haas but this one has less hair-shirt torment than most of his offerings, although his camera, as usual, ... See full summary »
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There is no way to write a "spoiler"---is there actually somebody somewhere who, ten minutes into this 1950's film, wouldn't know where it is going and will end up---since it is a strictly written-by-the-numbers corruption and redemption meller that finds: number 1, a doctor returns from the Korean War to his Pennsylvania mining hometown, (and 2) must choose between dedicating himself to treating the suffering poor (or 3) build himself a swank office and get rich by flattering wealthy women with imaginary ailments. Throw in elements no. 5,Lizabeth Scott as a rich, spoiled, twice-divorced woman with a lip stiffer than his, and number 6, Dianne Foster as a nurse bent on helping all mankind, and there are no surprises left, especially if one take note of the name of Irving Wallace among the writers, the title and Scott billed above Foster. The only surprise here is that this film wasn't from Universal-International and directed by Douglas Sirk. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
About 55 minutes in, as Mrs. Nelson is being rushed to the hospital, the ambulance we see on the street is a Cadillac. When it enters the ramp to the emergency room, however, it has turned into a Buick. See more »
Dr. Tom Owen:
[on the phone with his wife]
Oh, I'm interviewing nurses, of course. Don't be silly, darling, of course she'll be fat and ugly. I do insist on good legs though.
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A freshly discharged army doctor passes up practice in blue-collar hometown for big- paying practice among a city elite that includes a cool blonde dilettante.
I got this epic as part of a package claiming to be all noir. The only thing noir in this movie are the several night time shots otherwise, no crime, no hand of fate, and no moody atmosphere. Only blonde seductress Helen (Scott) instead, and she's hardly the standard spider woman. Actually, the movie's more b&w soap opera than anything else.
That's not to say there're no redeeming features. I guess I wasn't aware of what a racket doctoring among the wealthy can be. The movie shows what a cushy pandering job it can be, treating headaches with high-priced medicines and smarmy words. And coming from a muckraker like novelist McCoy, e.g. They Shoot Horses Don't They (1969), I take it as factually based.
And surprise, surprise, to me, at leastactor Heston is quite animated as the sell-out doctor. I guess this was before he stiffened into a big-screen movie god, but whatever, he's quite persuasive in the role. Still, I thought the script made the doc's transition from honorable soldier to money-grubbing pill pusher much too easy, more like a movie device than a character change. Nonetheless, get a load of the coal mine scenes, quite realistic and well done.
But, bottom line, the story follows a familiar pattern with no surprises, suggesting a production serving mainly as a vehicle for Columbia's newest hunk.
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