Dr. James Kildare decides to take a position at a large New York hospital instead of joining his father's country practice but he finds himself in serious trouble when he saves a suicidal wo... Read allDr. James Kildare decides to take a position at a large New York hospital instead of joining his father's country practice but he finds himself in serious trouble when he saves a suicidal woman.Dr. James Kildare decides to take a position at a large New York hospital instead of joining his father's country practice but he finds himself in serious trouble when he saves a suicidal woman.
This was the first of the Dr. Kildare series of movies which segued into the Dr. Gillespie series of films after Lew Ayres left to serve as a medic in WWII. Lew Ayres plays Dr. James Kildare, fresh out of medical school. His father, Dr. Stephen Kildare (Samuel S. Hinds), as well as his mother, (Emma Dunn) think that he is going to practice in their small town, and they've bought a plaque with his name on it and set up an office for him in their parlor. The girl next door - literally - seems ready to pick out her wedding dress.
But James has other ideas. He wants to practice medicine in a big hospital because he's not sure what specialty he is interested in, and has already accepted an internship at Blair Hospital in New York City. How this leaves James and the girl next door is left in limbo.
In New York Kildare meets the famed Dr. Gillespie (Lionel Barrymore) who seems to immediately dislike him, he gets blamed for negligence that caused the death of a famous politician that was not his fault, AND he has a clue as to why a wealthy family's grown daughter tried to commit suicide. The hospital wants him to say what he knows, but he feels what he was told by her was in confidence and faces being fired for insubordination because he stays mum, figuring he can figure out the mystery himself and maybe save the girl's mind and spare her any embarrassment. It's funny how the hospital, the girl's family, and the specialist all feel like they have a right to discuss confidential medical information about the grown woman, but never bother to discuss it with her. Kildare is decades ahead of his time, seemingly, in medical ethics.
Not many supporting cast members that were staples of the later films are brought in here, with the exception of the telephone operator and Nat Pendleton's orderly and their long running low key romance.
MGM does something unusual at the end. There is a small segment tacked on where Lionel Barrymore and Lew Ayres mention that this film is the first of a series that will be made.
The Kildare films are especially slick and entertaining for a set of B films- the very genesis of the med-centric programming that has ruled network TV for decades. In fact, if you compare this series with early 2000's TV series "Scrubs", there seem to be lots of comparisons and even direct character-to-character correlations between the two. And with the studio system at full throttle, MGM could throw their stable of talent in as individual "guest stars" in each entry. Barrymore is just terrific in these films as the irascible and somewhat omniscient Gillespie . I'd recommend them as a great time passer. And remember that the key to enjoying these films is to not play 21st century armchair physician here, just sit back and let the drama unfold.
- Nov 19, 2020