Cary Grant, Jeanne Crain
Prof. Elwell: At that time, what was the profession of this Praetorius?
Sarah: He was a doc.
Prof. Elwell: A “doc”?
Sarah: He healed people.
Prof. Elwell: How?
Sarah: If I knew how, I’d be a doc myself.
Noah Praetorius (Grant) is a doctor with a mysterious past. He meets Deborah Higgins (Crain), a woman who is pregnant by an ex-boyfriend who may have died in combat. After a failed attempt on her own life, and medical care from Dr. Praetorius, the two fall in love. Meanwhile, Professor Elwell (Hume Cronyn), is trying to expose Dr. Praetorius’ dark past.
I’m not entirely sure I know where this movie is coming from. It begins by saying – in the opening title cards – that it is dedicated to the most important people in the medical profession: the patients. Clearly, Dr. Praetorius puts the patient first before anything else, and rails against the common practice of concentrating on the scientific side of medical treatment instead of the human side. Later, he seems to scoff at one character’s dependence on “The Good Book”, taking the side of science. While still later, Praetorius once again goes back to promoting the importance of miracles and faith in the process of healing the sick. In that respect, the movie seemed to be a little all over the place.
There are many humorous moments, and the relationship between Noah and Deborah is interesting and complex, but the movie meanders from scene to scene and feels overlong. The story about Praetorius’ odd past and his mysterious friend, Shunderson, doesn’t have much of a payoff, and left me wondering why he was so secretive about it in the first place.
It seems like there’s some interesting ideas and characters here, but they’re lost in a sea of drawn out conversations and soap opera-esque plot developments. For a movie that wants to promote the value of the patient, it sure likes to hear itself talk.
Hanging wasn’t always an effective form of execution.
10 – 2.5 for being meandering and over long – .3 for some over dramatic acting – 1 for the main mystery having an underwhelming payoff = 6.2