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The Case of Dr. Laurent (1957)

Le cas du Docteur Laurent (original title)
A heartfelt plea for painless childbirth in rural France of the fifties.


Jean-Paul Le Chanois (scenario), Jean-Paul Le Chanois (adaptation) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Gabin ... Le docteur J. Laurent
Nicole Courcel ... Francine
Silvia Monfort Silvia Monfort ... Catherine Loubet
Henri Arius Henri Arius ... Le docteur A. Bastid (as Arius)
Daxely Daxely ... M. Simonet, le boulanger
Lucien Callamand Lucien Callamand ... M. Bertrand, le directeur de l'école
Josselin Josselin ... M. Roux
Mag-Avril Mag-Avril ... Céline (as Mag Avril)
Marthe Marty Marthe Marty ... La mère de Franchine
Germaine de France Germaine de France ... Mme Vanolli
Raymone Raymone ... La mère Loubet
Orane Demazis ... La veuve Escalin
Yvonne Gamy Yvonne Gamy ... La sage-femme traditionnaliste
Henri-Jacques Huet Henri-Jacques Huet ... Antonin Escallin (as Henri Jacques Huet)
Viviane Méry Viviane Méry ... Une habitante


A not-so-young doctor tries to explain to women of the fifties(in a small village in the mountain) that painless childbirth is possible,and that the old curses -coming from long ago and far away,check the Genesis-must go.He will meet with macho men,but also submissive women-who will be his strongest enemies-,who still think that "the more you suffer,the more you love your baby".To fight such drivel,doctor Laurent expresses himself in astute images. What is obvious today was a big revolution then. Written by dbdumonteil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


All the suspense...all the wonder...all the passion...lead to this one magnificent moment...And it's all shown in a great motion picture so revealing that its powerful drama might well be true. for here you breathlessly live one girl's universal story - even to the very instant when she experiences natural childbirth. Let us make this bold prediction: this is the motion picture that will be more discussed than any in recent years. See more »




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Release Date:

27 June 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Case of Dr. Laurent See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Henri-Jacques Huet's first feature film. See more »


En Chemin
Music by Marguerite Monnot
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User Reviews

Warm and delicious . like bread from the oven
30 November 2003 | by Darrell NeilySee all my reviews

Dr. Laurent is ready for a mid-life change in his medical career. He just left his job in Paris because he didn't feel close to the people, only `responsible for them.' So he takes up a practice from a retiring colleague as the only family doctor in the small rural town of St. Martin.

After a short time in his new practice, he discovers an important need he can fill. The villagers have a lot of myths and superstitions about childbirth: `Women are supposed to suffer.' `Women should not be afraid of a little pain.' `Only through suffering can you love your child.' Laurent wants to dispel these myths, and teach the village about natural childbirth and managing pain with natural methods.

Although Dr. Laurent means well, his crusade is resented and resisted by the villagers, by the Medical Board back in Paris, and by his expectant patients. The villagers cry `What's a Paris doctor doing here?' and `Some things should not be discussed.' The Medical Board accuses him of `unethically soliciting for business' and `seeking glory.' His patients complain `You're my doctor, not my priest' and `He makes me feel like a circus animal.'

Of course, we know that Dr. Laurent's cause is noble and just. Although their scenarios are totally different, I saw similarity between Dr. Laurent and Gary Cooper's character in High Noon . men fighting for just causes in strange towns against overwhelming opposition.

For me, this film was absorbing from start to finish.

I reviewed this movie as part of a project at the Library of Congress. I've named the project FIFTY: 50 Notable Films Forgotten Within 50 Years. As best I can determine, this film, like the other forty-nine I've identified, has not been on video, telecast, or distributed in the U.S. since its original release. In my opinion, it is worthy of being made available again.

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