5 April 2007 | MartinHafer
Despite being a bit sentimental, this is an excellent and enjoyable drama
This is one of the "lost but found" films shown on TCM on 4/4/07. Apparently this and two other films shown that night were held out of public release due to litigation concerning royalties and now the powers that be at Turner Classic Movies have taken care of the licensing issues. Of the three films shown that night, none of them were great treasures but all three were excellent--very solid examples of the type of films RKO made during the era. Normally, when you think of RKO in 1933, you think KING KONG or Astaire and Rogers as a team, but there were other good films that might rank just below them in quality and entertainment.
This film is rather reminiscent of several other doctor dramas from the era (such as THE CITADEL and ARROWSMITH) where the doctor's nobility and sacrifice are celebrated. A younger Lionel Barrymore (sporting a dark doo thanks to hair dye) comes to a rural area to set up a medical practice. However, at first, he is unsuccessful and only begins to get patients when he agrees to use the barter system. Because of this, he is constantly in financial straits, but because he is so noble and decent, he doesn't give up and is eventually accepted and loved by the community. While all this could have been VERY syrupy, thanks to good writing and a terrific performance by Barrymore it is not.
There is certainly a lot more to the movie than this--including an excellent (as usual) performance by May Robson and an early performance by Joel McCrea. See this film and see a "small" film that really packs an excellent punch.