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Symphony of Six Million

(1932 b 95')

En: 5 Ed: 6

Adapted from the Fannie Hurst novel, the son of a poor tailor becomes a doctor on Park Avenue.

In New York city little Felix (Lester Lee) asks his mother (Anna Appel) why people have to get sick. Meyer Klauber (Gregory Ratoff) gives his children presents on his birthday. Felix reads while playing chess with his father. Felix tells his father to take baking soda for indigestion.

Years later Felix Klauber (Ricardo Cortez) studies at home. Mama gives him $14 for a microscope, and his father gives him $8. Felix works as a physician at the Cherry Street Clinic. Jessica (Irene Dunne) teaches at the Braille Institute. Felix brings candy to the children and takes Jessica to an amusement park. Felix's brother Magnus (Noel Madison) complains that Felix is not making money. He urges Mama to get Felix to move uptown. Mama tells Felix she doesn't like it there and cries.

Felix works at a west-end office and does not go to the clinic, telling the nurse to send money. He puts off his father and sees a wealthy woman, who asks about cosmetic surgery. Felix gives his father money but has little time for him. Felix tells Magnus he has made money, but the clinic was worthwhile. Magnus says they still need money and suggests Park Avenue. Meyer shows his friend his new car. Jessica has not seen Felix for six months and learns that Felix's sister Birdie (Lita Chevret) is a mother. Jessica has a boy who needs an operation; they wait for Felix, but his office lost the appointment. Jessica breaks in to see Felix and says he's changed. She sees the Vanity Fair photo of his "million dollar hands." Jessica tells Felix the boy died, and she pities Felix.

A rabbi dedicates Birdie's first born, and her husband redeems him for money. People celebrate. Meyer speaks of his children's success and then collapses. Felix says his father has a brain tumor. Felix is afraid to operate himself, but he does so. Breathing stops, and he dies. Felix walks the streets and returns to his office. He tells the family he took Papa's life. He laughs at Park Avenue success and says he lost faith in his ability; he quits. Felix goes to the clinic. Dr. Schifflen (John St. Polis) tells Felix it is too bad about Jessica's spine. Felix calls on Jessica. Magnus says that Felix stopped practicing. Jessica says he lost his soul when he left the ghetto. Ma asks Jessica to speak to Felix. Jessica is ready for an operation with Dr. Schifflen. Felix comes in, and Jessica says Felix is going to operate. Schifflen says Felix is more capable. Felix operates well, and the final scene shows the healing pledge.

This story explores the temptation of wealth available to a top surgeon; yet Felix comes to realize that helping the poor is more important.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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