14 August 2009 | MartinHafer
This one surprised me...and not in a good way
I have seen most of Dirk Bogarde's films, so the fact that up until DOCTOR IN DISTRESS I haven't seen a single film in his Doctor series is unusual. I think perhaps the reason why is because I really like Bogarde's dramas--especially the dark ones--and the Doctor films seem about as far from that as you can find.
This installment finds Bogarde and his boss (James Robertson Justice) both having romantic problems. Bogarde is infatuated with a patient, Samantha Eggar, and Justice is infatuated with a masseuse who works at the hospital. I say 'infatuated' because at no point does the film give either doctor a chance to even know the women with which they are obsessed--a major shortcoming in this film. Another major shortcoming is that too often, the film is played for laughs--very, very broad and low-brow laughs. This is certainly NOT a sophisticated British comedy--there is no hint of Ealing Studios or any of the other clever British film makers in this one! Broad humor, broad performances and a film that is, at best, a minor trifle--this is NOT a must-see but is at best a time-passer and one that might occasionally make you cringe with its obvious and over-the-top writing. Frankly, this surprised me...I had expected more.
In hindsight, perhaps a 4 is being a tad generous--I sure hope the other Doctor films are better and less "kooky".