Born into a family of Danish performers, Jean Hersholt migrated to the United States in 1914. In just six years, Hersholt had graduated to Hollywood’s top most supporting actor and was known for creating his own character makeup. His convincing portrayal of Dr. Da foe in The Country Doctor earned him a role in the Dr, Christian series among which were Meet Dr. Christian and Courageous Dr. Christian. Hersholt didn’t really think much of the character he played. His thoughts about Dr. Christian are best described in his own words - "Dr.Christian is such a sweet sentimental fellow, I'd hate to be stuck with playing him for the rest of my life." (1954)
Moved by the misery of squatters, the good hearted Dr, Christian decides to build a housing project for them. The only available plot of land belongs to Mrs. Norma Steward, a lonely widow who is madly in love with the doctor. Norma agrees to donate the land in lieu of Dr. Christian’s promise to marry her. Dr. Christian agrees, albeit reluctantly, only to have the town’s people back out of the scheme. It is now up to Dave Williams - a squatter rehabilitated by Dr. Christian - to rescue the poor quarter.
Running Time: 51 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR
In under three quarters of an hour, director Bernard Vorhaus highlights three significant aspects of life - the dignity and pride that keeps the underprivileged ticking, the apathy of the rich, and the concern ofa few that dare to be different, regardless of the cost.
Vorhaususes striking contrasts to highlight these undeniable truths - the sordid broken-down lean-tos of the poor against the opulent mansions ofthe rich, the defiant "what’s in it for you attitude" of the poor towards anybody trying to be of help against the "What’s he doing here" kind of attitude of the rich when the poor wander into their‘territory’. Amidst these conflicting interests, he places one soul who tries to bridge the gap. The fact that he fails only underlines the gravity of the situation.
Set in an ordinary unnamed town, theplot centers on the efforts of a doctor to provide better living conditions for the down trodden and on the society’s in difference to his concerns. Some rib-tickling humor comes from the widowed Norma’samorous pursuits and a couple of young children who can’t keep their hands to themselves. In-sightful and thought provoking, this classic Hollywood movie has a message that is just as relevant today as it was in the ‘40s. Witness it.
"This is one movie with a soul and a heart. I think some of the inspiration came from Vorhaus’ early life in New York. Anybody who had seen the pre-war squalor of New York will know what I am talking about.Vorhaus has used a fascinating blend of humor, pathos and romance to drive home a valuable lesson - that one man can make a difference. I love this movie and will view it again soon."
Amanda Simpson (New Ark, New Jersey)
"One aspect that is rarely touched upon in reviews is the contribution ofthe men behind the camera. This Dr. Christian episode though has such fascinating photographic work on display that you cannot help but mention it. Great camera work and a great movie!"
Ben Wilson (Houston, Texas)
CAST & CREW
Ian McLellan Hunter - Writing Credits
John Alton - Cinematography
Monroe Shaff - Associate Producer
Edward Mann- Editor
Maude Eburne - Mrs. Hastings
Vera Lewis - Mrs. Stewart
George Meader - Harry Johnson
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