Dr. Kildare’s Strange Case (1940)

“The operation was a success but the patient died.” – Dr. Leonard Gillespie

Number of Times Seen – 1 (5 Mar 2019)

Brief Synopsis – Dr. Kildare tries to help a brain surgeon who seems to lose too many patients during surgery.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had never heard of beforehand, but since Tiffany Brannan, Pure Entertainment Preparation Society chose the Kildare series for this month’s LAMB MOTM – Franchise edition, I decided to give it a shot.

Back when this series was made in the 30’s and 40’s, they didn’t have non-stop TV shows like we do today and instead of getting a weekly show about some kind of medical institution, they had to make film series that could serve the same purpose.

Unfortunately, that’s what makes this film less interesting to watch because it feels much too episodic instead of stand alone in its ideas and presentation.

The characters of this film are interesting and fun to watch despite the fact that everything is very toned down here.

This film series that includes films surrounding these characters includes over 15 films while having different medical episodes with both Dr. Kildare and his mentor Dr. Gillespie.

Lew Ayres is pretty good as the title character here and is able to give off both the feeling of a promising young physician/diagnostician and also someone who cares so much about the patients.

Lionel Barrymore is superb n the role of mentor and he clearly steals every scene that he appears in because he gets the balance between cranky and brilliant just right.

This film has a few subplots that occur concurrently to the main storyline yet despite the fact that they are done well, this film feels too episodic and tame and isn’t able to stand on its own.

Bottom Line – Fun characters to watch but the film and its story feels much too episodic for its own good. When this was made, they obviously didn’t have TV shows dealing wit these kind of stories, so it sorta makes sense that they would make a film series that (overall) includes over 15 films that deal with both Kildare and his mentor Gillespie. Ayres is fine in the title role, but Barrymore is able to steal the show as Kildare’s cranky yet brilliant mentor.  The subplot dealing with marriage is done interestingly yet this film overall is a bit too tame and fails to stand on its own.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Nurse Molly Byrd tells Mary Lamont that she is 49 years old. In fact, Alma Kruger, the actress who played Ms. Byrd was 72 when the film opened. (From IMDB)

Rating –BAFTA Worthy (5/10)


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2 thoughts on “Dr. Kildare’s Strange Case (1940)

  1. Pingback: The Lamb’s April 2019 MOTM (Franchises) – My Rankings | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1940 | MovieRob

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