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Doctors' Wives (1931)

When Dr. Penning, a famed doctor, takes a wife, some of her women patients don't get discouraged, and his wife will have to face what being a doctor's wife supposes.


Frank Borzage


Henry Lieferant (novel), Sylvia Lieferant (novel) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Warner Baxter ... Dr. Judson Penning
Joan Bennett ... Nina Wyndram Penning
Victor Varconi ... Dr. Kane Ruyter
Cecilia Loftus ... Aunt Amelia
Paul Porcasi ... Dr. Calucci
Minna Gombell ... Julia Wyndram
Helene Millard ... Vivian Crosby
John St. Polis ... Dr. Mark Wyndram
George Chandler ... Dr. Roberts
Violet Dunn Violet Dunn ... Lou Roberts
Ruth Warren Ruth Warren ... Nurse Charlotte
Louise Mackintosh ... Mrs. Kent
William Maddox William Maddox ... Rudie
Marion Lessing ... Patient
Nancy Gardner Nancy Gardner ... Julia Wyndram


Doctors' Wives is a 1931 American Pre-Code romantic drama film made by Fox Film Corporation, directed by Frank Borzage. The film stars Warner Baxter and Joan Bennett. The screenplay was written by Maurine Dallas Watkins, based on a novel by Henry and Sylvia Lieferant.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

15 March 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Esposas de Médicos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Doctors' Wives (1971) premiered in the 40th Anniversary year of the unrelated same-titled picture Doctors' Wives (1931) which had debuted in 1931 whereas Doctors' Wives (1971) debuted in 1971. However, there are thematic similarities relating to adultery and infidelity relating to both pictures. Moreover, each movie had a significant "Frank" behind each film: Doctors' Wives (1931) was directed by Frank Borzage whilst Doctors' Wives (1971) was based on a novel by Frank Slaughter. See more »

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User Reviews

A doctor's wife's work is never done
12 February 2010 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

It was a time when women were rarely doctors;they had to be content with being doctors 'wives .Borzage 's movie depicts the life of one of them,portrayed by a young Joan Benett,how she learns to share her dear husband with his patients (I love the last line ,even if by feminist standards ,it's completely obsolete today).

It is an uneven movie,out shadowed by so many masterpieces (" the river" "lucky star" " street angel" "young America" "a farewell to arms" " a man's castle" "no greater glory" etc etc ) nobody to this day wrote a comment on it.

The best scene ,IMHO,is at the beginning of the movie:Benett is holding the phone when the two doctors enter the room:we can see by their face her old man has died ;then we hear her mum,coming back from a party,laugh...As the part of the mother is very underwritten ,this scene does not really count .

Borzage's main subject is present though :some people are ready to sacrifice their own life so the others' will be better:so is Dr Kane,who "does not eat strawberries but like them" and spends his time doing research on cancer.This character , the most interesting of "Doctor's wives" ,will reappear,under another name,played by Leslie Howard this time in "Green light" (1937).

Should be reserved to Borzage's fans,but there are plenty of them...

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