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In 1944, Capt. Josiah J. Newman is the doctor in charge of Ward 7, the neuropsychiatric ward, at an Army Air Corps hospital in Arizona. The hospital is under-resourced and Newman scrounges what he needs with the help of his inventive staff, especially Cpl. Jake Leibowitz. The military in general is only just coming to accept psychiatric disorders as legitimate and Newman generally has 6 weeks to cure them or send them on to another facility. There are many patients in the ward and his latest include Colonel Norville Bliss who has dissociated from his past; Capt. Paul Winston who is nearly catatonic after spending 13 months hiding in a cellar behind enemy lines; and 20 year-old Cpl. Jim Tompkins who is severely traumatized after his aircraft was shot down. Others come and go, including Italian prisoners of war, but Newman and team all realize that their success means the men will return to their units and combat. Written by
With all due respect to HAL-900, Bobby Darin's excellent portrayal as "Little Jim" HAD to be less than subtle in order to allow the also very excellent Robert Duval to play his character as subtly as he did. Gregory Peck is excellent as the stalwart Psychiatrist dealing with medical as well as bureaucratic challenges. Angie Dickinson IS pretty much just for show, but she NEVER looked better. Yes, Peck's 'drunk' is a tad corny but necessary to show that he was not invulnerable to the suffering that whirled about him. Tony Curtis and Larry Storch provide (necessary) comic relief. Modern Psychiatry was still in it's infancy when this movie is set and a long way from where it is today when the movie was produced. Gregory Peck starred in a LOT of excellent films and I number CAPTAIN NEWMAN, MD among them. It is part of TCMs library so catch it if you can.(Added 11/01/08)Huzzah! A new GREGGORY PECK DVD collection will be released November 4th, 2008 and CAPTAIN NEWMAN, MD is one of the titles included along with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, CAPE FEAR, ARABESQUE and THE WORLD IN HIS ARMS.
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