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“The Secret of Doctor Kildare” - Big City Medical Adventure
released on November 24, 1939
The Actors: Lew Ayres (Dr. James 'Jimmy' Kildare), Lionel Barrymore (Dr. Leonard Barry Gillespie), Lionel Atwill (Paul Messenger), Helen Gilbert (Nancy Messenger), Nat Pendleton (Joe Wayman), Laraine Day (Nurse Mary Lamont), Sara Haden (Nora), Samuel S. Hinds (Dr. Stephen Kildare), Emma Dunn (Mrs. Martha Kildare), Walter Kingsford (Dr. S.J. Carew), Grant Mitchell (John Xerxes Archley), Alma Kruger (Head Nurse Molly Byrd), Robert Kent (Charles Herron), Marie Blake (Sally the telephone operator), Martha O'Driscoll (Mrs. Roberts), Nell Craig (Nurse 'Nosey' Parker), George Reed (Conover), Frank Orth (Mike Sullivan), Walter Baldwin (Finch), Don 'Red' Barry (Collins the intern), George Chandler (pay orderly), Tom Collins (Dr. Joiner), Alec Craig (telephone repair man), Byron Foulger (hospital attendant), Mitchell Lewis (Adam, Nora's gardener), Matt McHugh (Messenger's chauffeur), Emory Parnell (policeman on Gaylor Avenue), William Tannen (Bates, intern), Joe Yule (lunch room counterman)
Doctors, Nurses and the Society Playgirl
Young and handsome Dr. Kildare is tasked with the challenge of determining what is wrong with a wealthy man's daughter. The daughter is a 'jitterbug,' always going out dancing and partying. But lately she is acting strangely, and her father is convinced that there is something medically wrong with her, and Dr. Kildare must discover what the problem is without letting the daughter know that he is a doctor. So he becomes her ‘party-partner,’ going out all night with her to dance the night away. Of course, Kildare's girlfriend is jealous.
And Dr. Kildare's boss, Dr. Gillespie (Lionel Barrymore), the head of the local hospital, is dying from skin cancer and wants to hide that fact from everyone around him. In 1939 there is no treatment for skin cancer, just a slow and painful death. Gillespie's passion before dying is to discover a cure for Pneumonia, and he rides Dr. Kildare hard to help him with the research. Dr. Kildare's father and mother then visit, and we discover that Doctor Kildare’s father may be dying of 'coronary disease.' This movie is a great tutor for the television soap operas that intertwine many plot lines into one story.
I enjoyed hearing Barrymore order a piece of pie with cheese as desert for his dinner. I remember my father enjoying apple pie with a slice of cheese melted on top of it. I thought it was weird, and it is unheard of today, but long ago I think it was quite the fad.
Lionel Barrymore, great uncle of Drew Barrymore, performed in a wheel chair for this movie, and all his movies toward the end of his career. A broken hip suffered in an accident first put him in a wheelchair, and his worsening arthritis kept him in a wheel chair for all of his later movies. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
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