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  • This entry in the popular Dr. Kildare/Dr. Gillespie series, which was also a radio hit at the time, is somewhat of a sequel to "Calling Dr. Gillespie." The story of "mental case" Roy Todwell is continued and finalized. There are also several subplots from the extremely weak and saccharine children's ward melodrama featuring Margaret O'Brien to the more effective and interesting rivalry between Dr. Adams (Van Johnson) and Dr. Lee Wong How (Keye Luke) to be Dr. Gillespie's new assistant. One subplot, however, appears to be MGM's slap at Lew Ayres (Dr. Kildare) for declaring himself a conscientious objector which caused such an uproar and led to MGM dropping him. A veteran who has lost his legs in the bombing of Pearl Harbor is being fitted for new ones. He is extremely depressed and tells Dr. Gillespie that he never wants to walk again. Dr. Gillespie goes out of his way to help the vet, providing him with the best of everything, though he has little money. Dr. Gillespie gives a patriotic speech against the Japanese, even quoting the Bible. Though no reference is made to Dr. Kildare (Lew Ayres)by name, it is obvious why this subplot was inserted.

    There is the usual mix of romance, humor, mystery, and the down-home philosophy of wheelchair-bound Dr. Gillespie (a father figure not unlike our President at the time who was also in a wheelchair) that made the Dr. Kildare/Dr. Gillespie series so successful. But this is one of the weaker entries. Be sure and see "Calling Dr. Gillespie," a much better movie, first. It makes viewing this one more palatable.
  • MGM's Dr. Kildare second feature series continues without Dr. Kildare -- Lew Ayres was in the doghouse because of his antiwar stance since starring in 1930s ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT and was serving as a medic.

    In the meantime, the series carried on with Lionel Barrymore as the crusty Dr. Gillespie, with newcomers Van Johnson and Keye Luke competing for his favor as his interns. Keye Luke gets the silliest lines, as a partisan of Brooklyn. Van Johnson is interested in anatomy: female anatomy.

    Unhappily, much of the feature is taken up with shtick like that, expertly delivered, but absolutely trivial and of little interest. Of more interest might be spotting other budding MGM talent including series regular Nat Pendleton, Donna Reed as a man-hungry temptress for Van Johnson, and Margeret O'Brien at her most waiflike. There is no subtlety in this movie. Director Goldbeck never got out of the Bs and this movie shows why. Unless you want to see the actors far below their best, you may not want to look at this. Most people will want to give this a miss.
  • I saw this movie a few months ago, 2005. I, also, saw it in 1957 on our new black and white television.

    The year this movie was made was 1943. There was a war going on and we needed heroes who could help keep the home fires burning and save the women and children. Doctors today can't do everything like Dr. Gillespie could. He was busy saving the lives of 4 little girls who are suffering, putting two young residents who are vying to be Gillespie's assistant in their proper places, messing up the love life of Dr.Red Adams (Van Johnson) and trying to help Marcia Bradburn (Donna Reed) by institutionalizing a murderer, her ex-fiancée Roy Todwell. He was making her life miserable by trying to keep her from marrying a young soldier. And to add interest to the situation Roy breaks out of prison. What's the good doctor to do? Will he be able to save the lives and mend the hearts of so many?

    And when you realize that Lionel Barrymore is doing all this from a wheelchair then we must marvel. He had severe arthritis in both legs and had started using crutches when he starred in You Can't Take It With You (1938) with Jimmy Stewart and Edward Arnold. As his illness progressed the needed items to make his acting career easier to handle were written into the script.
  • blanche-22 September 2005
    Lionel Barrymore is the omniscient Dr. Gillespie in this episodic entry into the popular Dr. Kildare/Dr. Gillespie series. The overworked doc has two ambitious men working under him, cute Van Johnson and charming Keye Luke, and they both want to be his top man. Donna Reed is a beautiful young woman who comes to Gillespie for advice as the film begins - she wants to get married, but she's worried about a crazy man, crazy about her, who is now in jail for murder. Gillespie endeavors to get the man institutionalized. He helps give a young man who lost his legs during the war have the will to continue; he saves four little girls in the children's' ward; wrecks Van Johnson's love life - it's all just business as usual for Dr. Gillespie of Blair General.

    The cast is charming but this film is just too sweet for words, and Dr. Gillespie is a real fantasy character even for 1943. I suppose with the war on, this is what America wanted to see. It's interesting that like our President at the time, Gillespie is also in a wheelchair, in a position of power, and larger than life.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I agree with other reviewers that this movie was riddled with subplots, but they were not hard to follow.

    I was a bit surprised that Donna Reed's character had to stop and think if she still loved her psychotic ex-boyfriend, who was in prison. What kind of a nutjob (even in 1943) would continue to love a man who killed a dog in front of her, killed two men in another state, and then attempted to murder Dr. Gillespie? I know many of the old MGM plots were sometimes hard to swallow, but come on here!

    I noticed also that Dr.Gillespie's character in this entry was softer and warmer in his interpersonal reactions. This was a more approachable Dr. Gillespie than ever before.

    Marie Blake, always fun as the switchboard operator, was back again with her quips and acerbic comments. It would have been wonderful to have seen her in a film with more screen time. She had that Betty Garrett quality. Not beautiful but funny, perky, and winning.

    I was surprised to see the actor who played Tobey in The Human Comedy playing the recasted role of the killer. I wonder why the other actor didn't continue. I assume he wasn't available at the time.

    The movie held my interest, and it was a surprise to realize that when I saw Donna Reed playing the same character from before that this entry was going to focus on earlier events. Truly a way to entice a viewer to tune in to watch the characters tie up loose ends.

    Overall worth watching, especially if you enjoy the Dr. Kildare/Gillespie series in its entirety.
  • Dr. Gillespie (Lionel Barrymore) continues testing Dr. Lee Wong How (Keye Luke) and Dr. Randall Adams (Van Johnson), both vying to be his new assistant. Meanwhile an epidemic breaks out in the hospital children's ward and psycho killer Roy Todwell breaks out of prison just as Gillespie is arguing to the prison board that Roy belongs in a mental hospital. All this plus a double amputee struggles to come to terms with his disability and a beautiful woman throws herself at Dr. Adams.

    The third Gillespie movie follows up on the events of Calling Dr. Gillespie. Donna Reed returns and is even lovelier than before. The character of Roy was recast for some reason. The new actor, John Craven, isn't as creepy as the last one, Phil Brown. Craven is just kind of skeevy. Van Johnson and Keye Luke are both fun. Luke is once again given the wartime comments about Japs, as well as the subplot about a man who lost both his legs at Pearl Harbor. Beautiful Marilyn Maxwell has a sexy part as a wealthy hospital volunteer who comes onto Johnson very strongly. She would appear a couple more times in the series. Margaret O'Brien is cute as one of the sick kids. She was such a precocious little actress who did melodrama very well. It's an enjoyable entry in the series with more subplots than you can shake a stick at. Barrymore is terrific as usual.
  • Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case deals with some unfinished business from Calling Dr. Gillespie. Although why he's bothering I can't figure out other than he's a dedicated man of medicine and possibly an opponent of capital punishment.

    In Calling Dr. Gillespie Donna Reed is charmed by young Phil Brown who turns out to be a homicidal maniac. He gets caught and Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Gillespie tries to get him a guilty by insanity verdict which a jury doesn't buy and sends him to a regular prison instead. But Gillespie doesn't give up, especially when Reed playing the same character shows up announcing she's found someone new and is about to wed.

    Barrymore has two young interns in this film who he keeps busy. There's Van Johnson who is with him when he goes to the prison on behalf of John Craven who has taken over the role that Phil Brown played in the earlier Gillespie film. The other is Keye Luke who gets involved in the rehabilitation of William Lundigan who was a taxi driver from Honolulu who lost both his legs when a bomb hit his cab.

    All three of them are involved in an outbreak of erysipelas in the hospital pediatric ward, one of the children being Margaret O'Brien. As you can see everybody at Blair General Hospital has a full plate of responsibility.

    I think the film would have been better had the part of the story involving John Craven wasn't there. Craven tries to kill Barrymore in the previous film and no one would blame Barrymore if he wanted nothing more to do with the case. But back in the day doctors were saints on the silver screen.

    Still Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case is not a bad film and did a lot of good for the popularity of MGM's rising new star, Van Johnson.
  • MartinHafer13 September 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    While I was not a fan of CALLING DR. GILLESPIE (it had a bazillion plot holes), this followup film was better in practically every way. In an odd nod to continuity, this film picks up with the same characters from CALLING DR. GILLESPIE--though the man playing Roy the Psychopath was different. For a B-series film to have this sort of continuity is very unusual.

    In the last film, Roy was sent to prison for multiple murders. However, Gillespie wasn't happy about this since the man was clearly insane and he recommended (to no avail) that he be placed in a psychiatric hospital. However, just like today, the jury was worried that such a commitment might allow him to one day walk the streets--hence the conviction and sentencing him to regular prison.

    In addition to this, the film picks up with the same two new interns from the last film DR. GILLESPIE'S NEW ASSISTANT (is should read 'ASSISTANTS' as they are Keye Luke and Van Johnson--not one person). Van is trying desperately to have a date with the most perfect woman in the world and Keye is trying to learn all he can to enable him to go to help out in war-torn China. The case that brings both of them together is about an outbreak of a bacteriological infection in the children's ward that is potentially deadly. This plot, incidentally, is much better than the one involving Roy as it made sense--Roy's frequently didn't! As far as Roy goes, he's still totally crazy and imagines that his old fiancée (Donna Reed) is waiting for him--even though he was sentenced to a bazillion years in prison. However, like the last film, some times Roy seemed pretty normal, other times he seemed nuttier than a fruitcake! Ultimately, just how dangerous and out of control he is comes to haunt Gillespie--but you'll need to see more about that yourself.

    Probably the best reason to see this is to finish the saga of Roy. Additionally, it's nice to see that series back on track after a couple disappointing outings.
  • capricorn816 August 2005
    I found it pretty entertaining since I had never even heard of these series, and found it sort of fun to watch them, I was able to see this one right after "Calling Dr. Gillespie" so it tied in with the prior movie. I found the two movies to at least have most of the same characters, and from what I saw from investigating some of the other movies in the series, many of them appear in those movies as well. At least there are constants in the series, I don't particularly like the same characters with different actors passing through to play them.

    I didn't expect brain surgery here, just a little entertainment from long ago, little did I know there was so much film history to the Dr. Kildare shows before we turned on our TV sets to watch him every week. While starting to read about the Dr. Gillespie series I was a bit confused at first, not remembering Dr. Kildare in "Calling Dr. Gillespie" so it was also an education to find in the notes that after filming, the actor who had played that part for so long was a conscientious objector to WWII, therefore his part was eliminated and in walked Dr. John Hunter Gerniede and a change in the movie title. You just never know what kind of story lines there are behind the stories.
  • What's a Dr. Kildare movie without Lew Ayres? A Dr. Gillespie movie, and let's face it, since Dr. Gillespie is Lionel Barrymore, no one's going to be complaining. In Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case, Lionel has to deal with two ambitious assistants, a depressed war veteran, a children's epidemic, and a convicted criminal who'll lose his temper if he finds out his ex-wife Donna Reed is getting re-married. This installment packs quite a punch, so prepare to be entertained.

    The supporting cast may have well-known names, but not everyone is given a lot to do. Van Johnson exists to chase around the overly flirtatious Marilyn Maxwell and roll his eyes whenever he's prevented from sealing the deal. Keye Luke exists to simultaneously make the movie seem accepting and racist, since the running joke is that he's learning to speak Chinese at the local college. Donna Reed exists to look pretty and flounce around with bouncing hair and a sweet smile. Nat Pendleton is always a lot of fun, with wisecracks, harmless flirting, and loyal support to his friends and the hospital.

    Of course, the star of the show is Lionel Barrymore, a true professional who's incapable of giving a bad performance. In this one, he treats Michael Duane, who's despondent over losing his legs in the war. It's quite sad, not only because this realistic situation was being shown during wartime, but also because a wheelchair-bound Lionel tells Michael how lucky he is that he'll be equipped with artificial legs. "You're luckier than I am. Not even this hospital can make me walk," he says, no doubt creating many lumps in audiences' throats. Lionel also has a touching scene with a group of sick children, including a young Margaret O'Brien, reminding audiences how wonderful he was in On Borrowed Time with Bobs Watson. Just in case you get too teary-eyed, Lionel does get thrown a surprise birthday party, and to prove he's not surprised, he opens his bathrobe to reveal a tuxedo! After all, in a hospital drama, in the middle of WWII, there's got to be a touch of humor to get us through. And Lionel, who can get us through anything.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    **SPOILERS** Picking up where the far better "Calling Dr. Gillespie" left off pretty but not too tightly wrapped together-up stairs- Marcia Brandburn, Donna Reed,is not quite sure whom to marry. Poor Marcia can't make up her mind between her two suiters the cutest and cuddliest sergeant in the US Army Sgt.Patrick J. Orisin, Michael Duane, or mad dog psycho killer and, what I assume, still fiancée Roy Todwell, John Carvan. If the film "Dr. Gillsepie's Criminal Case" stuck to that story-line It may well have been far better then it ended up being. Instead we have about a half dozen sub-plots that make the film almost impossible to follow.

    Old man Gillespie is back played by the cuddly-far more then even Sgt. Orisin-and lovable Lionel Barrymore with his two new intern, but not yet doctors, assistants Red Adams & Lee Wong How, Van Johnson & Keye Luke. Both Red & Lee have a lot more pressing things to deal with here then in their previous film "Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant". That movie just had the two young interns mostly deal with mundane and boring medical problems :Like life and death in the hospital's operating and emergency rooms.

    In this movie the hard working-working 14 hours shifts at the hospital-Chinese/American Lee Wong How spends all his free time in Brooklyn Collage learning a new and foreign language: Chinese! As for the handsome but a bit on the shy side Randall "Red" Adams he's trying to get very friendly and romantically involved with the utterly gorgeous and loaded, with cash not booze, Blair Hospital groupie, she's got this thing about young men in white suits, socialite Ruth Edly played by 1940's blond bombshell Marilyn Maxwell. Lee should't have any problem, with help from his relatives, mastering the Chinese language. But on the other hand Red finds it very difficult, if not impossible, in getting close to Ruth! Every time the two are about to "do it"-kiss not hanky-panky-they end up getting interrupted with Red being called on a medical emergency!

    As for Mister "G"-Dr Lenny Gillespie-himself he has his hands full not only with a ward full of children suffering from a deadly disease but him being kidnapped by "Mad Dog" Todwell whom he came to help at the state penitentiary. Doctor "G" want's to have the mentally and criminally deranged Todwell transferred to a mental institution that can cure him of his murderous abnormalities. In him being the all wise and all knowing man of medicine, as well as psychology, that he is Dr. Gillespie feels that a stay at the institution may well cure Todwell of his dangerous hangups,like whistles blowing in his ears, which a stay behind bars, with all those fellow convicts, won't!

    Not leaving out WWII-this is 1943- that's raging all over the globe the film has the added attraction of having a survivor, who lost both his legs, of the attack on Pearl Harbor US Navy man Alvin F. Peterson,William Lundigan. Peterson who feels that his life as a man is over with people having to opened doors and get up off seats, in the subway and buses, for him is miraculously brought back to feeling that he's whole again. In what is surly the most, if only, touching scene in the movie Peterson ends up dancing with the hard as nails-like a US Marine drill Sergent- Blair Hospital head nurse Molly Byrd, Alma Kruger! Not the, as we an Paterson would have hoped, knock you off your feet blond bombshell Ruth Edly!
  • MGM looks like PRC or Monogram in this hodgepodge. It picks up on characters in "Calling Dr. Gillespie" (on which I have commented.) Donna Reed is still in it but the man she'd planned to marry, now in prison, is another actor. He's OK but the original was very powerful.

    Several plots are tossed into this stew. In one, Keye Luuke and Van Johnson are vying for the job of Dr. Gillespie's assistant.

    Then we have the beautiful woman who offers Johnson everything -- except a hiding place from the call of hospital emergencies.

    And we have a ward of little girls with a contagious disease. Margaret O'Brien is appealing as one of these girls.

    Another story involves a vet who's lost his legs. This character is played with great intensity by William Lundigan.

    And: the holdover. Is Reed's ex insane or is prison the right place for him? Far be it from me to answer that here. However, though this one contains the word "criminal" in its title, the first one was a tense noir and this is a pan of scrambled eggs.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Excellent cast totally wasted in this 1943 film.

    Lionel Barrymore is again the cantankerous Dr. Gillepsie,but who has a heart and passion for his medical profession. Trouble is that in this not very good film he is called upon to be a therapist and other positions as well.

    He is dealing with an insane killer, an epidemic in a child's ward and who to make his assistant. Van Johnson plays a doctor who is lady crazy and the whole thing seems like one endless statement with a sort of a tie-up at the very end.

    The writing is not good and the scene where the hostages are being held could have been done a great deal better. There is no excitement. Imagine one of the thieves announces that he regrets doing what he is doing.

    Really now, let's admit it: This is a first class stinker.