7.2/10
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28 user 7 critic

The Citadel (1938)

Passed | | Drama | 29 October 1938 (USA)
Andrew Manson, a young, enthusiastic doctor takes his first job in a Welsh mining town, and begins to wonder at the persistent cough many of the miners have. When his attempts to prove its ... See full summary »

Director:

King Vidor

Writers:

Ian Dalrymple (screen play), Frank Wead (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Donat ... Andrew Manson
Rosalind Russell ... Christine Barlow Manson
Ralph Richardson ... Denny
Rex Harrison ... Dr. Lawford
Emlyn Williams ... Owen
Penelope Dudley-Ward ... Toppy LeRoy (as Penelope Dudley Ward)
Francis L. Sullivan ... Ben Chenkin (as Francis Sullivan)
Mary Clare ... Mrs. Orlando
Cecil Parker ... Charles Every
Nora Swinburne ... Mrs. Thornton
Edward Chapman ... Joe Morgan
Athene Seyler ... Lady Raebank
Felix Aylmer ... Mr. Boon
Joyce Bland Joyce Bland ... Nurse Sharp
Percy Parsons Percy Parsons ... Mr. Stillman
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Storyline

Andrew Manson, a young, enthusiastic doctor takes his first job in a Welsh mining town, and begins to wonder at the persistent cough many of the miners have. When his attempts to prove its cause are thwarted, he moves to London. His new practice does badly. But when a friend shows him how to make a lucrative practice from rich hypochondriacs, it will take a great shock to show him what the truth of being a doctor really is. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Secrets of a doctor as told by a doctor! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La ciudadela See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This movie's initial telecast took place in Seattle Tuesday, March 5, 1957 on KING (Channel 5), followed by Philadelphia Sunday, March 17, 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6). It first aired in New Haven, Connecticut April 19, 1957 on WNHC (Channel 8), in Altoona, Pennsylvania April 26, 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), in Chicago May 4, 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), in Portland, Oregon May 11, 1957 on KGW (Channel 8), in Phoenix June 27, 1957 on KPHO (Channel 5), in Miami July 6, 1957 on WCKT (Channel 7), in Memphis July 21, 1957 on WHBQ (Channel 13), in Hartford, Connecticut September 12, 1957 on WHCT (Channel 18), in Los Angeles September 17, 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), in Tampa September 23, 1957 on WFLA (Channel 8), in Honolulu October 20, 1957 on KHVH (Channel 13), in Tucson November 4, 1957 on KVOA (Channel 4), in San Francisco May 18, 1958 on KGO (Channel 7), in New York City January 3, 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2) and in Minneapolis November 11, 1959 on KMSP (Channel 9). See more »

Goofs

When Andrew examines Christine's throat, he sits in front of a light that is supposedly reflected into Christine's mouth by his eyepiece. We see this from over Andrew's shoulder, and when the light is directed into her mouth, it is clearly coming from behind Andrew, because the back of his eyepiece is illuminated. See more »

Quotes

Christine Barlow Manson: Andrew, Do you remember once telling me that a all good research man needed was a notebook, a microscope and a room with a roof over it?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also shown in computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Version of Madhura Swapnam (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Citadel has a fine story and a terrific performance by a great actor
24 March 2006 | by kdmcc-1See all my reviews

This is a wonderful film that deserves to be seen by a wider audience than it currently receives. The screenplay of "The Citadel" is excellent and deals with issues that have a continuing relevance today. Indeed, its theme--the importance of having a strong sense of vocation and integrity --especially among medical doctors, will probably always retain its original significance.

Robert Donat plays a physician who starts out as an idealistic young man working in a poor Welsh coal mining district, but after a series of disappointments he leaves and becomes a cynical member of a London clinic for rich patients, practising the kind of assembly line medicine that is all too common today in many countries. It is likely, however, that the film had a definite influence in countries like the United Kingdom and Canada, which developed publicly-funded medical plans after World War Two.

But even the best universal health care systems can still be prone to such problems as inequities in the availability or quality of treatment and incompetent or uncaring doctors, interested only in making money. Moreover, the issues of professional ethics, individual conscience and personal commitment are applicable to many other occupations, as we've recently seen in the cases of corrupt corporations, such as Enron, which have also abused people's trust.

The other main virtue of this film lies in the acting of Robert Donat. Sir Laurence Olivier once stated that Robert Donat would have been a greater actor than Olivier himself was, had it not been for the chronic asthma that plagued Donat throughout his life and ultimately killed him. That terrible respiratory illness may have inspired him, in "The Citadel," to give one of the most sensitive and moving performances I have ever seen on film, during the scene in which Dr. Manson gets a baby, thought to have died, to breath again.

Donat's complete mastery of what the legendary Konstantin Stanislavsky called "tempo-rhythmn" gives a palpable urgency to this scene that is unforgettable. Watch his delicate and expressive use of his hands while he works to save the infant he's holding. These are the hands of a great actor giving life to a scene, and, at the same time, the hands of a great doctor giving life to a child.

This is acting of the highest order, and if you want to see what the real "Stanislavsky Method" (and not the inferior misinterpretation of it by Lee Strasberg) was all about, Donat's performance in this scene remains as magnificent a demonstration of its goal of emotional truth as I have ever witnessed in many years of watching theatre and film. The rest of his performance is equally brilliant. The changes in his face perfectly convey the degrees by which the former idealist becomes a jaded opportunist, and then. . .

Well, I don't want to be a spoiler and give the whole story away! I highly recommend "The Citadel" to anyone who enjoys films that have real meaning, or who appreciates the true, and truthful, art of acting--acting that is so brilliant and free from any trace of mannerism and artifice that we forget we're watching acting at all. We're seeing life and art unfold together. Thanks to the talent of Robert Donat, form and content become one: his concern with integrity and the film's concern with it simply merge into an inseparable artistic unity. This is a cinematic experience that nobody should miss.


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