6.2/10
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13 user 6 critic

Doctor Syn (1937)

Approved | | Drama, Adventure | 14 November 1937 (USA)
When customs and excise men arrive at the village of Dymchurch in Kent, they uncover an intricate smuggling network being coordinated by the local parson, Dr Syn. Unknown to all but a few ... See full summary »

Director:

Roy William Neill

Writers:

Roger Burford (scenario), Michael Hogan (dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
George Arliss ... Dr. Syn
Margaret Lockwood ... Imogene Clegg
John Loder ... Denis Cobtree
Roy Emerton Roy Emerton ... Capt. Howard Collyer, R.N.
Graham Moffatt Graham Moffatt ... Jerry Jerk
Frederick Burtwell Frederick Burtwell ... Rash the Schoolmaster
George Merritt ... Mipps the Coffin Maker
Athole Stewart Athole Stewart ... Squire Anthony Cobtree
Wilson Coleman Wilson Coleman ... Dr. Pepper, MD
Wally Patch Wally Patch ... Collyer's Bo'sun
Meinhart Maur Meinhart Maur ... Mulatto
Muriel George ... Mrs. Waggetts, Pub Owner
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Storyline

When customs and excise men arrive at the village of Dymchurch in Kent, they uncover an intricate smuggling network being coordinated by the local parson, Dr Syn. Unknown to all but a few locals Dr Syn also hides a secret past, that he was once the notorious pirate Captain Clegg. Written by Fuzzball

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Feared Pirate Gangster of His Time!

Genres:

Drama | Adventure

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 November 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dr. Syn See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Connections

Remade as Night Creatures (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Landlord Fill The Flowing Bowl
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
much more than a black & white film
28 April 2006 | by spj-4See all my reviews

I regard this black & white movie highly, for it has many applications into the modern struggles of those seeking justice - in any era! It has stood the test of time. That's something the lack of vision of fundamentalists & puritans, across time & place, fail to appreciate. Freedom of speech is not an issue to such conservative powers who had a powerful voice in 1937 when this movie was made, as to today. Rationalism & fundamentalism are entirely broad enough for themselves. No room for fantasy, adventure or contrary thought some would respectfully observe. No complexities of life or possibility.

The character of "Dr Syn" is displayed as the quietly pious but genuine pastor looking after his flock, is a credible cover for his secretive nocturnal activities of much merit & substance in their justice. Such justice is something that hardliners would portray as an extravagance they can do without. Indeed, people without a breath of vision won't find much here. They can just listen to too many politicians or shock-jock media personalities who could have an immediate fix to any confrontation without justice but suitable to themselves.

Dr Syn might have appeared to be a bible basher. But that is where his common bond with bigots & hypocrites ceases. He was of principle & integrity in his justice, remaining committed to the marginalised outcasts he is sympathetic to the cause of. As such, his expression of two seemingly conflicting characters neatly blends into his one person of integrity. No hypocrisy. No injustice.

In a dictatorship of such historical authority of that time, he is forced to present a message faithful to his faith, but remain loyal to his kin of broader vision & concern for true justice & friendship beyond lip service. He is a bridge between kingdoms of much merit. Such as were his friends were people not intending to crucify a king of heaven or be unjust traffic cops, across time & place. In a modern world, harsh & unmoved in raking up revenues for corrupt governments, it has much relevance to its message.

Of course, such things as rum-runs were anti-authority & subjective in judgement - something black & white thinkers who don't like others having free will, prefer to oppose. But the drama presented in "Dr Syn" is anything but black & white. The dilemmas of the broad-thinking parson not engulfed by religiousness as he might have been, are passionately voiced by the protagonist in actor George Arliss. If this final movie of his life was his only offering, it would have been a substantial contribution in an otherwise productive life & varied acting career.

I think the plot is a realistic one & believable in the era of small churches were scattered along the English coast, & has been verified as historical fact. In such places, activities such as illegal liquor trade & potential invasion were commonly witnessed or experienced threats, that caused the citizens to be wary & vengeful in forming any trust bar their most trusted relationships.

In reality, this movie is much more than an historical piece. Certainly, it is much more than a black & white movie as some may dismiss it!


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