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Captain Newman, M.D. (1963)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, War | 25 December 1963 (USA)
In 1944, an Army doctor is in charge of a neuropsychiatric ward at an Army Air Corps hospital in Arizona, and he must deal with a variety of tough cases.

Director:

David Miller

Writers:

Richard L. Breen (screenplay), Phoebe Ephron (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Capt. Josiah J. Newman, MD
Tony Curtis ... Cpl. Jackson 'Jake' Leibowitz
Angie Dickinson ... Lt. Francie Corum
Eddie Albert ... Col. Norval Algate Bliss
James Gregory ... Col. Edgar Pyser
Bethel Leslie ... Mrs. Helene Winston
Robert Duvall ... Capt. Paul Cabot Winston
Jane Withers ... Lt. Grace Blodgett
Dick Sargent ... Lt. Belden 'Barney' Alderson
Larry Storch ... Cpl. Gavoni
Robert F. Simon ... Lt. Col. M.B. Larrabee
Syl Lamont Syl Lamont ... Sgt. Kopp
Paul Carr ... Arthur Werbel
Vito Scotti ... Maj. Alfredo Fortuno
Crahan Denton ... Maj. Gen. Snowden
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Storyline

In 1944, Capt. Josiah J. Newman is the doctor in charge of Ward 7, the neuropsychiatric ward, at an Army Air Corps hospital in Arizona. The hospital is under-resourced and Newman scrounges what he needs with the help of his inventive staff, especially Cpl. Jake Leibowitz. The military in general is only just coming to accept psychiatric disorders as legitimate and Newman generally has 6 weeks to cure them or send them on to another facility. There are many patients in the ward and his latest include Colonel Norville Bliss who has dissociated from his past; Capt. Paul Winston who is nearly catatonic after spending 13 months hiding in a cellar behind enemy lines; and 20 year-old Cpl. Jim Tompkins who is severely traumatized after his aircraft was shot down. Others come and go, including Italian prisoners of war, but Newman and team all realize that their success means the men will return to their units and combat. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The picture that swings from hilarity to heart-break and back again...with Academy Award winner Gregory Peck heading the most amazing and remarkable galaxy of characters ever assembled...bringing to glowing life the vivid best-selling novel. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

25 December 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Captain Newman See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastman Color by Pathé)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Author Leo Rosten based the character of Captain Josiah Newman on his friend, Captain Ralph Greenson, a U.S. Army psychiatrist who worked with traumatized airmen during World War II, and was one of the first to identify the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following combat. See more »

Goofs

Two characters are sitting in an office. Items on a bookcase (behind a chair) keep appearing and disappearing. See more »

Quotes

Col. Norval Algate Bliss: Is Mr. Future *insane*?
See more »

Connections

References Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
Traditional tune, lyrics by Robert Burns (uncredited)
Performed by the main cast and the people from the Hospital
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pre-MASH wartime hospital mix of comedy and tragedy
20 May 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Captain Newman, M.D. (1963)

Almost twenty years after WWII, a movie that reflected the growing public admission that there were many psychological victims from the war, often ignored or minimized at the time (unlike, say, Vietnam, which was just unfolding, and which demanded a different kind of accountability). And this one is set in the middle of the war, though in an Arizona military hospital far from direct action.

The star is certainly the title character, played by Gregory Peck, and Peck is his usual highly respectable self, moral and a natural leader, but likable and willing to take chances, too. That is, an ideal male, in many ways, the kind you might like to have as President, or at least the chief doctor in your hospital. He is, in particular, in charge of the mental ward, and his main intern played by Tony Curtis steals the show, on purpose. While much of the movie is funny, or at least peculiar enough to be ironic and wry, there are moments of heartfelt tragedy and even heartwrenching trauma (especially when a couple of the inmates go berserk). Third in line is a strong, sympathetic nurse (Angie Dickinson) and these three run the ward with unusual verve and intelligence. It clearly is a case in favor of the military giving good psych treatment.

There are several interesting patients, as well as a band of Italian POWs brought in for some nice comic relief (and for a reminder that people are people, even if they are enemies). The most famous and unusual is played by Bobby Darin, who I just saw in another movie from the period where he played a patient in an army psych ward, the riveting "Pressure Point." This is a whole different kind of movie, though Darin's performance is strong in similar ways in both cases. Here he even plays an impressive ten seconds on the guitar, and if you watch closely you'll see it's the real deal, not recorded later.

The color in the filming is unusually clear and vivid in a realistic way, and Russell Metty behind the camera has made a number of really solid, beautiful, richly colorful films ("That Touch of Mink" and "Imitation of Life" as well as the more earthy "The Misfits"). The lighting is usually fairly bright and broad, though there are some scenes pumped up with shadows. A couple of shots toward the end are oddly filmed against an obvious back projections (when they are rounding up the sheep) which is too bad because otherwise the standards are very high. Director David Miller isn't especially legendary, but he has one terrific film I'd recommend to anyone, "Sudden Fear" made a decade earlier. Here he shows general high production values and a sense of humor (mostly through the endlessly lively Curtis).

A nice little colorful film with a gently persuasive subtext.


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