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Doctor Bull (1933)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 22 September 1933 (USA)
Doc Bull, a no-nonsense country doctor who has served his community for decades, fights small-town prejudice and provincialism in several crises.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

James Gould Cozzens (novel), Paul Green (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Will Rogers ... Dr. George 'Doc' Bull
Vera Allen Vera Allen ... Mrs. Janet 'Jane' Cardmaker, Widow of Charles Edward Cardmaker / Bull's Girlfriend
Marian Nixon ... May Tupping - Telephone Operator
Howard Lally Howard Lally ... Joe Tupping
Berton Churchill ... Herbert Banning - Janet's Brother
Louise Dresser ... Mrs. Herbert Banning
Andy Devine ... Larry Ward, Sodajerk
Rochelle Hudson ... Virginia (Muller) / Banning
Tempe Pigott ... Grandma Banning
Elizabeth Patterson ... Aunt Patricia Banning
Nora Cecil ... Aunt Emily Banning
Ralph Morgan ... Dr. Verney, Owner Verney Laboratory
Patsy O'Byrne ... Susan - Dr. Bull's Cook
Veda Buckland Veda Buckland ... Mary - Janet's Maid
Effie Ellsler ... Aunt Myra Bull
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Storyline

Dr. Bull is an old-fashioned country doctor whose affair with the widow Janet Cardmaker is creating waves in the small town where he practices. When there is a mysterious outbreak of typhoid which the doctor is slow in reacting to, it all comes to a head. The townspeople hold an emergency meeting and decide to give Dr. Bull the sack and bring in a new doctor. Dr. Bull must find a way to save his job, his reputation, and a young man's life, whom all other practitioners have written off as a permanent invalid. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

IF YOU MISSED IT...SEE IT NOW! IF YOU SAW IT...ENJOY IT AGAIN! (1936 re-issue poster) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 September 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Adam See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the book, there are discussions about abortion between Doctor Bull and Virginia Banning. These were dropped from the script after a complaint from the Hays Office. In the movie, there is just a vague notion she is pregnant. Also, the character of Larry Ward had a venereal disease in the book, but in the film he's just a hypochondriac. See more »

Quotes

Dr. George 'Doc' Bull: Oh, there's an old saying. There's only one way into the world, but there's a thousand ways out.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Doctor Bull brings his neighbors into the world and postpones their departure as long as possible. He prescribes common sense and accepts his small rewards gratefully. His patients call him Doc." See more »

Soundtracks

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
(uncredited)
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Lyrics by Charles Wesley
Sung by the congregation in church
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Medicine, a noble calling
15 January 2017 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

John Ford certainly loved the medical profession. Go through his film list and wherever you see a doctor character it will inevitably it will be a noble if perhaps flawed character. His most famous doctor was Josiah Boone in Stagecoach where Thomas Mitchell won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. But in Doctor Bull, the first of the three films Ford did with Will Rogers, Rogers is in the title role of George Bull, small New England town physician who has taken care of his town for two going on three generations.

Not that some of the town appreciates his toil. He's angered the powerful Banning family headed by Berton Churchill who has not only poisoned the town water, but poisoned the town against Doctor Bull. His gossipy sisters have filled the town with speculation about the doctor's relationship with Vera Allen a widow. Not like they're not adults, but you have to wonder about the lives that people lead when they're main concern is what everyone else is doing.

The film has some parallels to the Bing Crosby/Barry Fitzgerald film Welcome Stranger when for a brief moment it's thought the town has an epidemic. Some of the vested interests in Fitzgerald's New England town want to remove him as well.

Some of the best comic moments are provided by Rogers and Andy Devine who plays a soda jerk in the local pharmacy and is a constant main in the butt to Rogers because of his imagined ills. Devine is the hypochondriac's hypochondriac.

Rogers is always working 24/7 for his people and using a method that was tried successfully with animals affects a cure from a disease that has left Howard Lally bedridden for months. What happens there gives Rogers the last laugh on his ungrateful town.

The observations on the human condition of Will Rogers are timeless. Medicine does not look the same today as it did for Doctor Bull. But the truths are eternal.


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