Green Light (1937)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Romance


Green Light (1937) Poster

A brilliant young surgeon takes the blame for a colleague when a botched surgery causes a patient's death and buries himself at a wilderness research facility.

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6.4/10
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  • Margaret Lindsay and Anita Louise in Green Light (1937)
  • Green Light (1937)
  • Green Light (1937)
  • Green Light (1937)
  • Green Light (1937)
  • Errol Flynn and Walter Abel in Green Light (1937)

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8 August 2010 | bkoganbing
6
| Self Sacrifice And Good Works
Because Green Light was done under the banner of Cosmopolitan Pictures for Warner Brothers, I've got a feeling that William Randolph Hearst might have originally intended Anita Louise's part for his amour Marion Davies. The thought of Marion Davies and Errol Flynn together in a film boggles the mind, but I'll bet Hearst would not have wanted Flynn opposite Davies for personal reasons as Errol was just starting to acquire his reputation as a rake.

W.R. provided Flynn with a change of pace that he requested. After doing adventure films Captain Blood and Charge Of The Light Brigade, Flynn wanted something different. Green Light is based on a Lloyd C. Douglas novel of spiritual values and Universal had just had a smash hit in Magnificent Obsession that made Robert Taylor a major star. No doubt Hearst persuaded Jack Warner to get the film rights for Davies, but then Marion couldn't go through with it. The story does center on the man however and that was never something you would see in a Davies film.

Errol Flynn plays an idealistic young surgeon who takes the rap for a botched operation that his mentor Henry O'Neill performed. Resigning the hospital he goes to work for research scientist Walter Abel who is looking for a cure for spotted fever in the west which is deadly to humans and livestock. Along the way he meets and falls for Anita Louise who is the daughter of the woman who died on the operating table, Spring Byington.

Presiding over all of this is an Episcopal bishop played by Cedric Hardwicke. In her last hours Byington is heard listening to a broadcast by radio of one of Cedric Hardwicke's inspirational sermons. Hardwicke functions as the author's voice, he shares with the other characters and the audience the philosophy of self sacrifice and good works that Lloyd C. Douglas had. With all these people being so noble and self sacrificing, you know it has to turn out all right.

Flynn never quite nails down the character which would have been ideal for Tyrone Power over at 20th Century Fox. Still he gives it a good try and the audience did respond. But it would be a long time before Jack Warner would cast him in a modern drama.

For me the character I remember best is that of Margaret Lindsay who plays a nurse who really has it bad for Errol, but who loyally steps aside and even helps Louise get together with Flynn. Now THAT'S a sacrifice.

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