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Society Doctor

(1935 b 67')

En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a play by Theodore Reeves, a head intern gets fired, considers private practice, is wounded, and directs his own operation.

Head intern Bill Morgan (Chester Morris) doesn't like intern Dr. Ellis (Robert Taylor) going out with nurse Madge (Virginia Bruce). Ailing Frank Snowden asks Madge to call Mary, while his father, Harris Snowden (Robert McWade) waits for Dr. Harvey. Morgan plans to operate for appendicitis and warns Harris Snowden of gangrene. Morgan gets permission from Mary, who was secretly married to Frank. Harris Snowden complains to Superintendent Dr. Waverly (Raymond Walburn), but Morgan and Madge ignore his buzzer. Waverly criticizes Morgan, and Dr. Harvey demands his dismissal. Morgan says he wants to find real doctors and tells Ellis he was canned. Madge asks Morgan why he stopped taking her out. Morgan looks at Mrs. Crane (Billie Burke), whom he called neurotic. Dr. Harvey comes in, and Mrs. Crane tells him to get Morgan reinstated.

Two reporters expect the gangster Butch McCarthy to be visiting the policeman Harrigan he wounded. Ellis is going out with Madge, but Morgan makes them work overtime. Waverly asks Morgan to stay. Ellis asks Madge to marry him, but she says she can't because of Morgan. Mrs. Crane offers to loan Morgan money to set up a private practice; he reluctantly accepts. Morgan tells Harrigan he won't walk again. Morgan tells Madge about Mrs. Crane's offer. Madge tells Morgan of Ellis' proposal, and they quarrel. Ellis tells Madge he felt death and saved a life. Ellis and Madge have a party with Mrs. Crane's champagne and chicken, and they dance. Madge tells him about Morgan and Mrs. Crane. Ellis asks her to marry again, and Madge says yes.

McCarthy has his handcuffs removed to see his mother, who gives him a gun. Morgan tells Mrs. Crane he is refusing her offer. McCarthy shoots Morgan, and Mrs. Harrigan shoots and kills McCarthy. Waverly and Dr. Harvey say Morgan's case is hopeless; but Morgan asks for the Stieglitz technique operation by Dr. Ellis. Morgan gets a spinal anesthesia so that he can direct the operation, giving instructions before he faints. Morgan lives, and Waverly commends Ellis. Morgan thanks Madge, and Ellis tells Madge their engagement is off so that Morgan can ask her to marry, which he does.

All this melodrama takes place in one day, as the confident Morgan challenges the old ways of the medical profession, while the more pliant Ellis also develops his skills and demonstrates friendship. Morgan struggles against the superficiality of the upper classes while being tempted by its wealth.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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