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Dr. Socrates (1935)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 19 October 1935 (USA)
A small-town doctor gets roped into helping a notorious bank robber.


William Dieterle


Robert Lord (screen play), Mary C. McCall Jr. (adaptation) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Paul Muni ... Dr. Lee Cardwell
Ann Dvorak ... Josephine Gray
Barton MacLane ... Red Bastian
Robert Barrat ... Dr. Ginder
John Eldredge ... Dr. Burton
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Stevens
Helen Lowell ... Ma Ganson
Mayo Methot ... Muggsy
Henry O'Neill ... Greer
Grace Stafford ... Caroline Suggs
Samuel S. Hinds ... Dr. McClintick (as Samuel Hinds)
June Travis ... Dublin
Raymond Brown Raymond Brown ... Ben Suggs
Olin Howland ... Bob Catlett
Joe Downing Joe Downing ... Cinq Laval (as Joseph Downing)


Bookish Dr. Cardwell is not very popular with the people of the small town of Big Bend, who prefer the charismatic Dr. Ginder. Cardwell has few paying patients and cannot even pay his grocery bill. One night he is visited by Red Bastian, a notorious outlaw in need of some quick medical attention. Bastian takes a liking to Cardwell and gives him a hundred-dollar bill as payment, which the doctor uses to square things with the grocer. Before their next bank robbery, Bastian's gang picks up a pretty hitchhiker. She manages to escape during the shootout, but is wounded. Dr. Cardwell takes care of her at his home and grows fond of the girl, named Jo. All of Big Bend is in a tizzy about Red Bastian, with many folks believing that Jo is his moll. Cardwell is blindfolded and brought to Bastian's hideout to check on his wound, but the doctor is able to deduce the location. Meanwhile, the G-men tracking the gang have traced the stolen hundred-dollar bill back to Dr. Cardwell. Cardwell is ... Written by Jimmy L.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


ARMED WITH A DOCTOR'S KIT, HE FACED 1000 KILLERS! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 October 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dr. Sócrates See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A man scornfully lists the classic Greek authors Muni reads. One of them is "Erysipelas." This is a skin disease. One screenwriter must have been having a little joke. See more »


At the end, Jo "fixes" Paul Muni's breast pocket handkerchief and has it with two ends sticking out of his pocket. When he and Jo come out of the room to go downstairs, the handkerchief is showing neatly as a triangle exposed in the pocket. See more »


Edited into Bullet Scars (1942) See more »


For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
Played at the celebration at the end and sung by the guests
See more »

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User Reviews

Nice Turn by Muni
17 December 2009 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Dr. Socrates (1935)

*** (out of 4)

Fast moving and tense film from Warner features Paul Muni in the title role of Dr. Socrates, a doctor who becomes the outcast in a small town after he helps a woman (Ann Dvorak) who accidentally got caught up with a gangster (Barton MacLane). Soon the doc and the girl begin to have feelings for one another and he must figure a way to get her away from the gangster. In an interesting bit of trivia, Muni didn't want to have anything to do with this film but agreed to do it if Warner would allow him to make THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR, which would eventually be released the same year and earn Muni the Oscar. There's also a funny joke here where Muni is talking about a book on the life of Pasteur. With that out of the way, the rest of the film is a pretty tense little gem that manages to feature some great performances and a pretty smart story. The movie might not be as respectable as some of Muni's bigger films but I thought there was enough here to easily recommend it. For starters we have Muni delivering an exceptional performance as he perfectly can play the kindness of the doctor but also show off his brains. The doctor being able to think fast on his feet plays an important part in the film and Muni makes us easily believe that he is smart enough to do what happens at the end. He also has a dry, sarcastic humor that comes off very well and he even delivers a few laughs. Dvorak isn't one of my favorites but she makes an interesting mix with Muni. MacLane isn't one you'd expect to see playing a gangster but he actually does a very good job and makes the character quite memorable with his humor and style of toughness. Fans of Humphrey Bogart will know that he and Kay Francis would remake this four years later in the bizarre KING OF THE UNDERWORLD. Bogart has another connection to this film as his first wife, Mayo Methot, plays the gangster's mole here. While this film is a lot smarter than many of the dramas from the studio, it also contain enough gunplay to please fans of their gangster pictures. The ending has one machine gun after another making for quite a big bang to go out on.

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