20 December 2004 | lawprof
A 1940 Film That Couldn't Be More Up-to-Date
As I tell my law students every semester, my favorite verse is from the Book of Harry. That's Harry S Truman and the quotation is "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." This minor gem from 1940 - "Dr. Christian Meets the Women" -is one of a six-film series starring Jean Hersholt as the kindly, gentle, wise, small-town physician who ministers to ailments physical and emotional. Christian never seems to collect a fee and there's no time spent dealing with HMOs. Malpractice litigation? That occupational hazard doesn't exist.
Christian encounters a visitor to his neat, friendly town, a "professor" who hard sells weight loss programs with the aid of a shapely assistant. He's only interested in distaff clients. Projecting himself as a man of science, he oozes the odor of a hucksterism that may be more sophisticated today but ain't no different in scope and end purpose.
Dr. Christian becomes increasingly disturbed as the many women who have been his long-time patients succumb to the charm and blandishments of this fellow who combines an exercise regimen with diet to cater to the women's feverish demand for weight loss. Oh, and he also "prescribes" (he's not a medical doctor) a substance from the earlier part of the last century that apparently isn't known today. I wrote down the name: amphetamines.
Christian, in desperate need of a vacation and falling ill himself, complains that he's never had so many townsfolk ill at the same time and it's all because of the draconian regimen eagerly, actually fanatically, pursued by the women who, for the moment at least, abandon the good doctor for the miracle-promising professor.
Change some of the dialog, re-make the movie in color and have the women desperate to land muscular mates while pursuing exciting careers and "Dr. Christian Meets the Women" would be ready for today's MTV and theater market.
All the Dr. Christian movies are better than mere "B" second features but this one resonates with an almost embarrassing relevance. Yep, Harry Truman had it right for sure.
Thanks to Alpha for releasing this flick for a mere $5.99. It's worth acquiring as are the other Dr. Christian tales.