2 March 2018 | clanciai
A doctor takes care of a patient proving a hard test for the conscience of humanity
This was James Hilton's most upsetting novel, a parallel to Hans Fallada's "Was nun, kleiner Mann?" about the plight of small humble people at the mercy of a world of inhumanity. Paul Muni makes one of his finest performances ever as a good and decent but not very clever small town doctor, who is governed by a bit too orderly wife (Flora Robson), who doesn't like music, while Paul Muni actually plays the violin and does it well. As one of his patients he takes care of a young dancer who has broken a delicate bone, but she is foreign (Austrian) and has no one to turn to when she falls out of luck, deserted by her dancing company and attempting suicide in her abandoned despair. She proves to have a very good hand with children, and the doctor and his wife need a nanny for their young son (about 5 or 6), so even Flora welcomes her. But she becomes such good friends with both the son and the musical doctor, that Flora feels bypassed and takes action, ordering her to leave. There the trouble begins.
It coincides with the outbreak of the first world war, and as an Austrian the delicate Jane Bryan finds herself a declared enemy in a very hostile country, where the small town folk don't hesitate to lynch local Germans. And so it goes from bad to worse.
Edmund Goulding has much of the credit for this extremely human and touching film, which could make anyone's heart melt. A sure thing is you will never forget it. It completely dwarfs "Good-Bye Mr Chips" of the same author and almost the same year for its deeper human poignancy. "We Are Not Alone" refers to the fact which the doctor quietly observes, that those who suffer as martyrs for meaningless hatred in local places indeed are not alone, since hundreds of thousands of innocents are martyred at the same time in the trenches of the war.
There are many delicate details in this film making it worth seeing again now and then, since situations like this always will remain actual and important reminders.