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One Man's Journey (1933)

Passed | | Drama | 8 September 1933 (USA)
Dr. Eli Watt, a widower, comes to a small town, considering himself a failure in his attempt to have a meaningful career in New York. He raises his son Jimmy as well as Letty, a baby whose ... See full summary »


John S. Robertson (as John Robertson)


Lester Cohen (screen play), Samuel Ornitz (screen play) (as Sam Ornitz) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Lionel Barrymore ... Eli Watt
May Robson ... Sarah
Dorothy Jordan ... Letty McGinnis
Joel McCrea ... Jimmy Watt
Frances Dee ... Joan Stockton
David Landau ... McGinnis
Buster Phelps ... Jimmy Watt - Age 6
June Filmer ... May Radford
James Bush ... Bill Radford
Oscar Apfel ... John Radford
Samuel S. Hinds ... Dr. Babcock (as Sam Hinds)
Hale Hamilton ... Dr. Tillinghast
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Colin Kenny ... Doctor at Banquet


Dr. Eli Watt, a widower, comes to a small town, considering himself a failure in his attempt to have a meaningful career in New York. He raises his son Jimmy as well as Letty, a baby whose mother has died in childbirth and whose father blames Watt and abandons the child. Watt dreams of returning to do research studies, but something always gets in the way: an epidemic, his children's needs, or the needs of his generally ungrateful patients. Only with the passing years does he come to find that his future isn't over and his past isn't quite the failure he believed. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


EVERY WOMAN'S SHAME --and EVERY WOMAN'S GLORY (Print Ad-Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette,((Pittsburgh, Penna.)) 8 September 1933)




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

8 September 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El viajero solitario See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In 2007, this film, along with five other RKO productions from the 1930s, was broadcast on TCM, the first public showing of the picture in more than seventy years. See more »


Early in the film, Lionel Barrymore's character bends to pick up the contents of his medical bag which have fallen to the ground. During the close-up of those contents, a voice can clearly be heard saying "camera" from offscreen. See more »


Joan Stockton: I'm not marrying Jim.
Eli Watt: Oh? Why not?
Joan Stockton: He's not successful.
Eli Watt: What makes someone successful?
Joan Stockton: Being human, caring, like you.
See more »


Version of A Man to Remember (1938) See more »


Long, Long Ago
(1883) (uncredited)
Music by Thomas Haynes Bayley
Played on an organ by May Robson
See more »

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User Reviews

One Man's Journey is a rare gem recently rediscovered
19 June 2008 | by tavmSee all my reviews

Just discovered on Mark Evanier's blog that Turner Classic Movies-on their blog-are running a feature every month. One Man's Journey is for June. This just-rediscovered RKO release from 1933 stars Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Eli Watt, a widowed man with 6-year old son Jimmy (Buster Phelps) coming back to his old country roots. Since many of the townspeople are nearly poor, Dr. Watt accepts payment in potatoes or other foods. That's what the husband of his first patient offers to him. This husband-a McGinnis (David Landau)-gets some good news and bad news. Good: He has a healthy baby girl. Bad: The mother died giving birth. McGinnis wants no part of his girl's life and threatens to kill Eli. For four years, Eli helps raise the girl with Jimmy, a dog, and their housekeeper Sarah (May Robson). Then McGinnis, having rehabilitated himself, wants her back. We then flash-forward about 15 or so years with that daughter Letty (Dorothy Jordan) grown up and helping Dr. Watt care for several children with smallpox. Son Jimmy (now played by Joel McCrea) is becoming a doctor himself. I'll stop here and mention some other players: James Bush as Bill Radford-Letty's eventual husband, Frances Dee as Joan Stockton-Jimmy's fiancée (and later McCrea's real-life wife), Dorothy Gray as Letty's daughter who has a heart-tugging scene with Barrymore when he's carrying her, and Samuel S. Hinds (or Sam Hinds as he's credited here) as Dr. Roger Babcock who pays Eli a very high compliment at the end that makes a marked contrast to me when I remember their later roles on It's a Wonderful Life as-respectively-Peter Bailey and Henry F. Potter-fighting over foreclosures in front of Bailey's son George. All of them give wonderful performances with Mr. Lionel Barrymore at his most heartwarming throughout. There's also some stirring yet underplayed musical scoring by Max Steiner. In summation, One Man's Journey is one of those "they-don't-make-them-like-they-used-to" pictures that makes you wish they still did!

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