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Captain Newman, M.D. (1963)

In 1944, an Army doctor is in charge of a neuropsychiatric ward at an Army Air Corps hospital in Arizona and he must deal with a variety of tough cases.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lt. Francie Corum
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Col. Edgar Pyser
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Mrs. Helene Winston
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Capt. Paul Cabot Winston
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Lt. Grace Blodgett
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Lt. Belden 'Barney' Alderson
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Cpl. Gavoni
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Lt. Col. M.B. Larrabee
Syl Lamont ...
Sgt. Kopp
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Arthur Werbel
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Maj. Alfredo Fortuno
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Maj. Gen. Snowden
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It speaks to you in the language of love, laughter and tears !... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

25 December 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Captain Newman  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastman Color by Pathé)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was a box office flop. See more »

Goofs

Because the US Armed Services were segregated in 1944, it seems highly unlikely that black soldiers would be in the same hospital wards as whites. Also, it would seem unlikely that black officers would be seated with white officers at the Christmas program at the end of the film. See more »

Quotes

Cpl. Jackson 'Jake' Leibowitz: [to Capt. Newman] You see, in the neighborhood I came, we had to learn six different languages in order to do business.
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Connections

Referenced in Millennium: Goodbye Charlie (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
Written by James Pierpont (uncredited)
Performed by Tony Curtis and the people from the Hospital
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User Reviews

 
The Army Air Corp's Own Snake Pit
3 May 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

For reasons I don't understand Captain Newman MD has always been singled out for criticism, most particularly directed at Gregory Peck saying he's too stiff for comedy. I don't agree on a number of levels and this is one of my favorite films with him.

First and foremost Peck's role is not one of comedy. What he does in the film is serve as Tony Curtis's straight man. Now his role is a comic one and very funny indeed.

Peck runs the psychiatric ward in an Army Air Corps Hospital out in the Arizona desert during World War II. There's no way a man like Peck would be in the command of George S. Patton who just didn't believe in Peck's whole profession. And in Patton like fashion if someone isn't shipped back to command in twelve weeks, Peck hears about it.

Captain Newman, MD is a serious film about such people and they are at the heart of the story with Peck trying his best to fix the broken minds and psyches in our Armed Forces. Three of his cases are the drunken, guitar playing corporal Bobby Darin, the catatonic flier Robert Duvall, and Eddie Albert the colonel who has gone psychotic. Peck has a mixed record of success with these three and with others in his ward.

Bobby Darin got an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, it's a fine performance but he lost that year to Melvyn Douglas for Hud. But personally I feel that Eddie Albert stole Captain Newman, MD from the rest of the cast. It's a tossup between this role and Attack for the best performances of Albert's carer.

Robert Duvall always credited Peck with giving him a good start to his long career with key roles in To Kill A Mockingbird and Captain Newman, MD. Funny thing is that Duvall has little dialog here and none in To Kill A Mockingbird. Far from the well spoken attorney who was consigliere to The Godfather. He's matched in his performance by his wife played by Bethel Leslie who is apparently much influenced by Grace Kelly in her performance. She's his prim and proper wife who tries to stir his interest in an attempt at an unusual kind of shock therapy.

Aiding Peck in his treatment of his patients are nurses Angie Dickinson and Jane Withers and orderlies Tony Curtis and Larry Storch. In his memoirs Tony Curtis says that he got along very well with Gregory Peck who he says was one of the best class acts in Hollywood. He didn't get along all that well with director David Miller who wanted Curtis to be more ethnic in his interpretation of Corporal Jackson Leibowitz. Curtis won out and I think he was right in this case. A friend of Tony Curtis's since childhood is Larry Storch and because of that Storch appears in a few films with Curtis. As Peck was Tony's straight man, Storch becomes his comic foil in a couple of scenes and they work well together.

Captain Newman, MD is a classic film, both entertaining and thought provoking, about the treatment of mental breakdowns among our military. As we certainly now are a country at war, Captain Newman, MD has a relevancy today that is timely. Absolutely do not miss it when it is broadcast.


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