6.3/10
781
17 user 17 critic

The Great Moment (1944)

The biography of Dr. W. T. Morgan, a 19th century Boston dentist, during his quest to have anesthesia, in the form of ether, accepted by the public and the medical and dental establishment.

Director:

Preston Sturges
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When the co-workers of an ambitious clerk trick him into thinking he has won $25,000 in a slogan contest, he begins to use the money to fulfill his dreams. What will happen when the ruse is discovered?

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Dan McGinty has great success in his chosen field of crooked politics, but he endangers it all in one crazy moment of honesty.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Brian Donlevy, Muriel Angelus, Akim Tamiroff
Certificate: Passed Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Woodrow is discharged from the military for hay fever, but fabricates receiving a heroic honorable discharge before returning home.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Eddie Bracken, Ella Raines, Raymond Walburn
Comedy | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Sir Alfred De Carter suspects his wife of infidelity. While conducting a symphony orchestra, he imagines three different ways of dealing with the situation. When the concert ends, he tries ... See full summary »

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Rex Harrison, Linda Darnell, Rudy Vallee
Comedy | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

After an all-night send-off party for the troops, a small-town girl wakes up to find herself married and pregnant, but with no memory of her husband's identity.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Eddie Bracken, Betty Hutton, Diana Lynn
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An inventor needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Major Thompson, an Englishman living in France, comments in his memoirs on the peculiarities of his French wife and friends.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Jack Buchanan, Martine Carol, Noël-Noël
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Temperamental saloon singer Freddie Jones, jealously shoots at her cheating boyfriend Blackie but mistakenly hits Judge Alfalfa J. O'Toole's honorable behind, forcing her to skip town under the guise of a schoolteacher.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Betty Grable, Cesar Romero, Rudy Vallee
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Twenty years after his triumphs as a freshman on the football field, Harold is a mild-mannered clerk who dreams about marrying the girl at the desk down the aisle. But losing his job ... See full summary »

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Frances Ramsden, Jimmy Conlin
Vendetta (1950)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The daughter of a slain man pushes her brother toward vengeance in 19th-century Corsica.

Directors: Mel Ferrer, Stuart Heisler, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Faith Domergue, George Dolenz, Donald Buka
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A director of escapist films goes on the road as a hobo to learn about life, which gives him a rude awakening.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick
Action | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The O'Leary brothers -- honest Jack and roguish Dion -- become powerful figures, and eventually rivals, in Chicago on the eve of its Great Fire.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Don Ameche
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joel McCrea ... William Thomas Green Morton
Betty Field ... Elizabeth Morton
Harry Carey ... Professor John C. Warren
William Demarest ... Eben Frost
Louis Jean Heydt ... Dr. Horace Wells
Julius Tannen ... Professor Charles T. Jackson (as Julian Tannen)
Edwin Maxwell ... Vice-President of Medical Society
Porter Hall ... President Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pangborn ... Dr. Heywood
Grady Sutton ... Homer Quimby
Donivee Lee Donivee Lee ... Betty Morton
Harry Hayden ... Judge Shipman
Torben Meyer ... Dr. Dahlmeyer
Victor Potel ... First Dental Patient (as Vic Potel)
Thurston Hall ... Senator Borland
Edit

Storyline

In the winter of 1868, Eben Frost goes to a Boston pawnshop and redeems a silver medal, inscribed to "Dr. W.T.G. Morton, the Benefactor of Mankind, with the Gratitude of Humanity." Frost drives to a country farmhouse and gives the medal to Morton's widow, Elizabeth Morton who explains to her daughter, Betty, that Frost was the first person given anesthesia by her father, Boston dentist Dr. W.T.G. Morton. The story flashes back 20 years to find Morton being wildly acclaimed by medical students as the man whose discovery of "letheon" had forever ended pain as, before that day, even amputations were performed with the patient fully conscious. "Letheron", unknown to everybody but Morton and Elizabeth, is simply highly rectified sulfuric ether - cleaning fluid - easily obtainable at a pharmacy. By keeping the secret, Dr. Morton could be rich, but he had rather be poor than see a girl strapped to an operating table under the knife of Dr. Warren, and he reveals his secret to a group of ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Paramount's escapist laugh tonic! Hilarious as a whiff of laughing gas!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 September 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Great without Glory See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed April-June 1942, but not released until 1944. Preview audiences found the film confusing and it was taken away from Sturges by Executive Producer Buddy G. De Sylva and re-edited over the director's objections. See more »

Quotes

Elizabeth Morton: He's going to be a dentist!
[weeps on her mother's shoulder]
Mrs. Whitman: Oh, and he seemed such a nice young man.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Interesting story of Dr. Thomas Morton
13 January 2008 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

In an unusual move, Preston Sturges decided to film "The Great Moment," a movie that tells the story of Dr. Thomas Morton's struggle to be acknowledged for his work in discovering anesthesia. The Sturges 1944 film (shelved for two years) starring Joel McCrea takes the point of view that Morton was a wronged man. In reading up on it, it seems that he was, and that a good deal of "The Great Moment" is accurate, probably until the very end.

Morton is a dentist seeking a way to practice pain-free dentistry. With the help of his mentor, Dr. Jackson, he eventually tries a form of ether that works, and he gives a name to his product. It was successfully used at the Massachusetts General Hospital for the first time in 1846. The problem comes in that, as with many inventions, other people claimed credit. Dr. Horace Wells, with whom Morton had worked, indeed used anesthesia in the form of laughing gas, but had a colossal public failure and after that, continued experimenting. Jackson, who claimed credit for telling Morton about the ether, later claimed he had invented the telegraph and a form of ammunition and was clearly unbalanced. The man who made anesthesia a practical tool of surgery was Morton, but he was unable to obtain a patent, and the fight about who really invented it raged on for years.

Joel McCrea is very likable as Dr. Morton, and Betty Field is wonderful as his long-suffering wife. Harry Carey turns in one of the best performances as Dr. Warren, the doctor who lets Morton use anesthesia on his patient. William Demarest plays a dental patient who has a pain-free surgery and after that, aligns with Morton. He's actually there more for comic relief.

"The Great Moment" works backwards, starting at the end and working through until Dr. Morton "ruins himself for a servant girl" - you'll be wondering what that's about all through the film. Actually, from my research, that part is pure hooey, and that's not why Dr. Morton lost control of his invention. The film is an uneasy mix of comedy and drama and, unlike other Sturges films, is a downer. Apparently this version isn't his cut. Sturges fans will be disappointed. I have to say, I was intrigued.


3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 17 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed