28 December 2011 | bkoganbing
Dr. Kildare gets sued
The title speaks for itself, Lew Ayres finds himself on the wrong end of a malpractice suit which will happen inevitably to any doctor if he practices long enough in America, this wonderful litigious country of our's. His predicament makes this particular Dr. Kildare film quite relevant for modern times.
It becomes The People vs. Dr. Kildare when Lew Ayres while driving Alma Kruger's car with fiancé Laraine Day gets into an accident. He does some on the spot surgery to ice skater Bonita Granville which saves her, but she is paralyzed in one leg after the operation. So what else can she do but sue the doctor who saved her life and everyone else remotely connected with the incident.
Unfortunately in Alma Kruger's car was half used bottle of liquor which Ayres can't account for, but he knows that he and Day didn't drink that evening. That fact gets leaked to Granville's lawyer Paul Stanton and it's the foundation of his case.
Of course it's the wise counsel of Lionel Barrymore that saves the day and on cross examination by the hospital and Kildare's lawyer Tom Conway an open question allows Barrymore to address the jury in the same manner he did in his Oscar winning performance in A Free Soul. I need not say that Barrymore did not drop dead at the end of his oration.
Red Skelton made the second of two appearances in the Kildare series as medical orderly Vernon Briggs. Skelton was taking the place of ambulance driver Nat Pendleton and his humor is there for comic relief and somewhat shoehorned into the film. An offhanded remark by him though is what gives the plaintiff in the suit ammunition to first start Granville's lawsuit.
An equal amount of time is spent in the courtroom as well as the hospital in The People Vs. Dr. Kildare, one of the better of the Kildare features.