Screen Directors Playhouse: The Final Tribute (1955)
*** (out of 4)
This entry in the Screen Directors Playhouse series is certainly the best so far. An elderly country doctor known as Uncle Joe (Thomas Mitchell) decides to let a new doctor (Dan O'Herlihy) take over most of his clients but the nurse (Laraine Day) objects to the new guy and the way he handles things. The new doctor and nurse battle over the proper way to car for patients and this all come to head one day after a major accident. THE FINAL TRIBUTE is a pretty dramatic little gem that offers up a nice story as well as some terrific performances. I thought the story was pretty good because it not only showed what an older country doctor could do so well but I think the screenplay was fair in showing what newer medicine and a newer mind could offer to this community as well. I thought the story was extremely fair to all three characters and thankfully it never painted any of them as a cardboard cut-out. It certainly didn't hurt that the actors were so good in their parts. Mitchell could play this type of role in his sleep so it goes without saying that he's at ease playing this caring man who will stop at nothing to make sure people are taken care of. Day offers up a strong performance in her role and it was nice seeing a nurse character getting such a strong stance in the story. O'Herlihy is also very good in his part and we even get Jonathan Hale in a small part. Director Andrew Stone does a nice job handling the material and really delivers a nice little gem. It's a tad bit too preachy at a couple spots but other than this the film is well worth watching.
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