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Not as a Stranger (1955)

An ego-driven, aspiring physician, intolerant of the weaknesses of others, especially those closest to him, comes to grips with his own imperfections.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kristina Hedvigson
...
Lucas Marsh
...
Alfred Boone
...
Harriet Lang
...
Dr. Aarons
...
Dr. Dave Runkleman
Myron McCormick ...
Dr. Snider
...
Job Marsh (as Lon Chaney)
...
Ben Cosgrove
...
Oley
...
Brundage
...
Bruni
...
Dr. Dietrich
...
Dr. Lettering
...
Nurse Odell
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Storyline

Lucas Marsh, an intern bent upon becoming a first-class doctor, not merely a successful one. He courts and marries the warm-hearted Kristina, not out of love but because she is highly knowledgeable in the skills of the operating room and because she has frugally put aside her savings through the years. She will be, as he shrewdly knows, a supportive wife in every way. She helps make him the success he wants to be and cheerfully moves with him to the small town in which he starts his practice. But as much as he tries to be a good husband to the undemanding Kristina, Marsh easily falls into the arms of a local siren and the patience of the long-sorrowing Kristina wears thin. She reasons he no longer needs her and asks for a divorce. A calamity now brings Marsh to his senses. Dr. Runkleman, Marsh's gruff and wise employer, is stricken with a heart attack and requires emergency surgery. Marsh is forced to operate. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Stands alone ! first as a book ... now as a motion picture !


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Details

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Release Date:

July 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Morton Thompson's Not as a Stranger  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stanley Kramer claimed that Gloria Grahame put a piece of tissue under her upper lip because she was convinced it made her look sexier. See more »

Goofs

When Dr Runkleman is undergoing surgery near the end of the film, there are several close-ups of an electrocardiograph as it monitors the procedure. However, there are no leads (wires) connecting it to the patient. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Dave W. Runkleman: [Opening lines] Gentlemen, this is a corpse!
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Connections

References The Barefoot Contessa (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Not as a Stranger
by Jimmy Van Heusen & Buddy Kaye
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User Reviews

The Doctor is In But He Won't Come Out
17 July 2003 | by (Falls Church, Virginia) – See all my reviews

Many have panned Robert Mitchum's performance in this film, but I think that his lack of expression and emotion, other than anger, suits the character very well.

Mitchum's Marsh is a completely self-absorbed individual. He's committed to medicine and can't understand human failings, especially his own. His character's cold demeanor perfectly reflects the fact that Marsh has no outer life. If he often appears robotic, it's largely because he's programmed himself to shut out everything human, ironically in service to humanity.

Of course he's a great doctor, but he's pure hell to work or live with. Bursting with pride, insensitive to the point of cruelty, Marsh is unreachable and, in more than one sense of the term, untouchable. Mitchum conveys all of this very naturally, perhaps because so much of his performance is rooted in the dark world of film noir, where the actor first made his mark. He's a physician from the neck up, but he has the heart of a contract killer. That he heals instead of kills is his patients' good fortune, though of little solace to his friends or his wife.

Although Mitchum's interpretation remains controversial, many of the other performances in `Not as a Stranger' are beyond criticism. Olivia deHavilland, as his suffering spouse, is superb as always. Charles Bickford, an actor who deserves a much greater reputation, is the epitome of a small town doctor. And surprisingly, Broderick Crawford is excellent as a gruff professor of pathology.

On the other hand, Frank Sinatra's pediatrician isn't as strong, though he has some good scenes when he tries to help Mitchum see the error of his ways. Gloria Grahame, unfortunately, is stuck with a seductress role that just as well could have been cut.

There are other weaknesses. George Antheil's score, by way of Wagner and Richard Strauss, is pretty hard to take. The script and direction are uneven. Many scenes are compelling, such as when Crawford literally throws the book at Sinatra or when deHavilland and Mitchum have one of their confrontations. Others fall flat and there is a tendency, typical in most of Stanley Kramer's work, to keep making points at the expense of the story. For example, the med school sequences with Whit Bissell's greedy and unethical Dr Dietrich (interesting choice of name there) cover a darker side of the profession very well. There's really no need for Jesse White, terribly miscast as a lawyer who cozies up to Grahame, to bring up ethical issues much later in the film.

Recommended as an above average melodrama and as an interesting time capsule of mid-50s medicine. (Though I found it hard to believe patients were allowed to smoke in the wards!)


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