14 April 2019 | HotToastyRag
What's wrong with Dr. Kildare?
I haven't seen all of the Dr. Kildare movie series, but I've seen enough of them to know that any newcomers shouldn't start with Dr. Kildare's Crisis. There's definitely enough drama and comic relief, but Lew Ayres's titular character is written so badly in this installment, it's impossible to like him or respect him as a doctor.
In this one, Lew Ayres and his devoted and very pretty nurse, Laraine Day, are planning their wedding. Lionel Barrymore, the sage Dr. Gillespie, is looking forward to breaking out his dress clothes and giving the bride away, and as he goes through his trunk with his tuxedo, he also revisits youthful memories inspired by adorable mementos. When he puts on a decades-old straw hat and reads old love letters still fragrant with perfume, it's easily the best scene in the movie. Anyway, Laraine's brother Robert Young comes to town for a visit, and immediately, Lew becomes suspicious that he has a severe illness. Keep in mind that the two have never met before and the only clue Lew has that anything's wrong with Bob is that he seems to hear a noise no one else hears. Without any official testing, Lew diagnoses him with hereditary epilepsy, which leads to insanity and death, and causes a huge dramatic panic. What's wrong with him?
Normally, I've been known to complain that it should have been Franchot Tone as the famous doctor in the series, but not even he could have saved this installment. Die hard fans won't want to miss any, of course, so if you do decide to watch it, you'll see the same friendly, familiar faces, Nat Pendleton, Alma Kruger, Nell Craig, and Marie Blake. You'll also see Bobs Watson return and show off his improved walking, and any reunion of Lionel and Bobs is touching. Robert Young is given some dramatic scenes to show off his acting, but since he and Laraine usually make such a great romantic couple, it's a little odd to see them as brother and sister.