Mary Rutledge arrives from the east, finds her fiance dead, and goes to work at the roulette wheel of Louis Charnalis' Bella Donna, a rowdy gambling house in San Francisco in the 1850s. She... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
When he hired John Ford to direct, producer Samuel Goldwyn insisted that Ford lay off the booze for the duration of the shoot. Ford complied with this request, but shot the movie at an increased pace, eliminating scenes that he felt didn't add anything to the film. Helen Hayes was a little mystified when she discovered that some of her scenes weren't being shot. See more »
In the night scene outside the research building when Dr. Arrowsmith's wife catches up to him, the snow becomes very scant and then a whole clump of snow falls, which looks like a stage hand got behind on their snowfall duties and then panicked. See more »
Bizarre script. Horrible accents. This is my first Coleman flick, I would not watch another if it weren't for the other comments here on how good he was in other movies. I can see the potential: a scene late in the movie when he clutches Leora's clothes and shows a twinge of real emotion. Unfortunately it lasts all of 10 seconds. The rest of the movie he's suave, cool, and completely vapid. Diametrically opposed to the Arrowsmith of the novel.
Why Hollywood scenes like the fist fight were added to the script (it was *not* in the book, nor could it have been!) baffles me. Also I admire the attempt at covering so much territory of a longish novel. But ultimately the movie fails, and Sidney Howard would have been better off with a more tight, focused, and coherent script covering a smaller portion of the novel.
There are many excellent scenes. Helen Hayes as Leora and Richard Bennett as Sondelius are often fantastic (though it's too bad about the absurd Swedish accent that sounds mostly German and perhaps a little bit Russian).
All in all I'd recommend this film only to anyone interested in the history of the cast and production staff, or to anyone interested in seeing what I believe is the only silver screen rendition of one of the Nobel Prize winner's best novels...
Otherwise don't bother.
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