Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Ronald Coleman, Helen Hayes, Myrna Loy
Written by: Sidney Howard, based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis
Directed by: John Ford
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 99
Date: 12/07/1931
IMDB

Arrowsmith (1931)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Medicine Man

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Though his greatest masterpieces were still years away,director John Ford was already working in a highly artistic capacity on thisearly film, his first to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Many shotsshow an early awareness of mood and expression, using heavy shadows anddiagonal shapes to establish visual conflicts. Ronald Coleman stars as thetitle character, a talented scientist who gives up a career of researching to getmarried (to Helen Hayes) and become a town doctor. Eventually he succumbs tohis true calling and heads to Africa to help cure the Black Plague. There hemeets sexy Myrna Loy (in an early role) and finds that science is not his onlytemptation. For the most part, Ford trusts his storytelling instincts, butproducer Samuel Goldwyn was more conscious of the film's social impact andreleased a fairly heavy-handed film that suddenly springs back in the finalseconds with a ludicrous ending. Ford did not like the picture, but it's stillworth seeing for some of his beautiful shots and for Loy's potent performance. Arrowsmithalso earned Oscar nominations for Art Direction,Cinematography and Writing (Adaptation).

DVD Details: MGM/UA's bargain DVD does not contain any extras but has optional French, English and Spanish subtitles.

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