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9 user 4 critic

The Country Doctor (1909)

Not Rated | | Short, Drama | 8 July 1909 (USA)
While caring for his sick daughter, a doctor is called away to the sickbed of a neighbor. He finds the neighbor gravely ill, and ignores his wife's pleas to come home and care for his own daughter, who has taken a turn for the worse.

Director:

D.W. Griffith (uncredited)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Frank Powell ... Doctor Harcourt
Florence Lawrence ... Mrs. Harcourt
Gladys Egan ... Edith Harcourt - the Daughter
Kate Bruce ... The Poor Mother
Mary Pickford ... The Poor Mother's Elder Daughter
Adele DeGarde ... The Poor Mother's Sick Daughter
Rose King Rose King ... The Maid
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Storyline

In the peaceful valley of Stillwater there is sunshine. All nature smiles as we make our way up the lane, lined on each side with blossoming trees and fragrant flowers, until we come upon Doctor Harcourt, one of God's noblemen, seated on the veranda of his house with his wife and little daughter Edith. All are carefree and happy as we stroll with them through the barley fields, lanes and daisy beds. It is indeed a beautiful sight, a trinity of souls, each living in the other's being. But the fates are jealous, and there are gathering clouds to shut out the radiance of their happy existence. Little Edith is taken very ill and the doctor is at first inclined to think his wife is unduly alarmed, but upon examining the child he realizes the illness to be serious indeed, so much so that it would probably be fatal for him to leave its side until the crisis is past. While so engaged a poor woman of the village hurries to his home to enlist his services for her little girl, who she fears is ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 July 1909 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il medico di campagna See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Biograph Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Transfer for restoration and DVD release was copied at 18 frames per second from a 35mm print which was preserved by the Museum of Modern Art's film department. See more »

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User Reviews

Still Quite Effective
22 March 2005 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This somber D.W. Griffith drama is still quite effective in grabbing hold of your emotions and making you anguish over the dilemmas facing its characters. It's hard to see how even today anyone could significantly improve on the way that it gets the most out of the material.

Griffith chose to open the story with a long panning shot of a beautiful countryside, before introducing "The Country Doctor" and his family. This opening is very effective in establishing the setting, and in fact the first few minutes are taken up with that shot and with some light-hearted scenes of the family outdoors. When the more serious part of the story is suddenly introduced, it is that much more effective for the contrast that has been established.

The main story is based on a simple but powerful premise, as the doctor must make agonizing decisions between his duty as a physician and his loyalty to his own family. Many things work together to make it so effective. The cast (which includes early audience favorite Florence Lawrence as the doctor's wife, and Mary Pickford in a smaller role) is pretty good, and the technique is quite refined for 1909. The cross-cutting at crucial points is particularly effective, as is the careful setup of several significant parallels.

Although many other film-makers of the era deserve to share the credit with Griffith for introducing and experimenting with the kinds of techniques that would soon become standard, this feature is a good example of why Griffith attained the kind of reputation that he had. It's very carefully done, and it works well enough to remain effective even today.


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