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As the fiercely dedicated general practitioner who tries to help the sick, the poor and the unfortunate in his decrepit neighborhood, Paul Muni is the testy old man who faces life without compromise and David Wayne is the troubled television executive fighting to preserve his career. Written by
Paul Muni as the last of a dying breed...and his last screen role...
PAUL MUNI could always be counted on to give an interesting performance, even if sometimes over-the-top (as he was in A SONG TO REMEMBER as Chopin's mentor). But here, in his last gasp as a screen actor, he does himself proud in an Oscar-nominated performance.
He's a Brooklyn doctor, a dedicated one with his own brand of honest values and not above making house calls when the need arises (a character trait that instantly dates the film). The story of how a clever TV man (DAVID WAYNE) tries to manipulate him in order to tell his life story on TV, is told in a very straightforward way with no unusual sub-plots or other distractions so that it ends up as a no frills entertainment and a time capsule of the late '50s-era Brooklyn, as well.
Interesting to note some top featured players had bit roles here. Television's BETSY PALMER has a more substantial part, but BILLY DEE WILLIAMS, CICELY TYSON, LUTHER ADLER, GODFREY McCAMBRIDGE and CLAUDIA McNEIL all make brief appearances.
Muni's performance was up against Charlton Heston's BEN-HUR--otherwise there's a strong possibility he might have won another Best Actor Oscar.
Directed with a sense of style by Daniel Mann and adopted by Gerald Green from his novel--and yet, oddly enough, it has the feel of a teleplay adapted for the screen.
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