28 June 2019 | DrakeBullet
Hats off to Mr. Barrymore!
Dr. Jimmy Kildare, a young medical school graduate, takes an internship at the Blair General Hospital, only to get into deep trouble when he starts involving himself in the case of a suicidal young heiress who has, to all appearances, gone crazy. He is also subjected to a rigorous, and at times embarrassing, testing of his knowledge by the hospital's top dog, Dr. Leonard Gillespie. (Who is relatively tame in this first entry, increasing the irascibility as the series went on. There are instances in the next few films when he is definitely over the top! But we're talking about the brilliant Lionel Barrymore, and playing a grouch is one of the things he does best!)
This first installment of the long-running series is very enjoyable to watch. The chemistry between Lew Ayers and Lionel Barrymore is perfect, and you can definitely tell that Barrymore was having a lot of fun with his role. The good, snappy script is amusing, and while I wouldn't rank it among some of the "great" films of the era, it's quite good, and a lot of fun.
There's one serious rumor I would like to knock out here real quick: Lionel Barrymore was given the role of the wheelchair-bound Dr. Gillespie after two separate accidents, in which he broke his hip twice. He could still walk a little after it healed, but it was rather difficult for him. However, he did not have arthritis, which I noticed is the reason many sources list for the necessity of the wheelchair. In his autobiography, We Barrymores, he states outright that he did not have arthritis. His only ailment was a twice-broken hip. Years later, he also performed his role in "Down to the Sea in Ships" (1949) with only a pair of crutches.
Anyway, I just wanted to deal with that briefly. Bottom line is, "Young Dr Kildare" is an overall good movie, and I would definitely recommend.