The Doctor and the Girl (1949) Poster

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7/10
Medicine And Romance
bkoganbing21 October 2009
In The Doctor And The Girl Harry Cohn decided to sell off half of Glenn Ford's contract to MGM for his services as half of the title of the film. It was the same kind of deal Cohn had with William Holden when he bought half of Holden's contract with Paramount. Now Ford would serve two studios and for loanouts in the future he'd have to have his schedule with both MGM and Columbia clear.

I hope you all that Ford was the doctor part of the title role. The girl is Janet Leigh, but there are two other prominent female roles and they play Ford's sisters, Gloria DeHaven and future first Lady Nancy Davis. They're all Charles Coburn's children and he's a prominent doctor.

Who has every expectation of seeing his son follow in his footsteps and he lays down the law to everyone else be they his children or his colleagues. The youngest Gloria DeHaven rebels, but in very unhealthy ways. Nancy has married a doctor herself in the person of Warner Anderson, but Anderson is determined to succeed as a pediatrician on his own thank you very much without Coburn's help.

But Ford starts off as a chip off the old arrogant block, but after some time working in Bellevue the arrogance flakes off, especially after meeting patient Janet Leigh who is in for some surgery. She's alone in the big city until Ford enters her life.

And Coburn doesn't consider her a suitable candidate for being a doctor's wife. That and his attitude towards his kids in general sets off the plot events in The Doctor And The Girl. He's a tyrannical old cuss, very typical of some of the parts he's played.

Though Glenn Ford had been making movies, mostly at Columbia for ten years he was new to the MGM studio. As was Janet Leigh. The film was shot on location in New York City. I recognize the facade of Bellevue Hospital, nothing much has changed their in 60 years. Of course if the camera were turned to the other side of the street on First Avenue, a great deal has changed.

And as for the disparaging remarks about the working class area of Third Avenue where Janet Leigh lives and to where Ford moves when he marries her, that is some of the most expensive real estate in the world. The cost of their apartment in that same general location would boggle the mind.

Ford and Leigh were fairly new, but for Nancy Davis this was her second film and first speaking role. It was definitely no acting stretch because in real life she was the daughter of a rich and prominent physician, Dr. Loyal C. Davis of Chicago. I'll bet Dr. Davis was a whole lot like Charles Coburn in manner. He was definitely his daughter's mentor in politics and also a mentor for his son-in-law our 40th President.

There are two other roles of prominence, Bruce Bennett has a very nice role as Ford's supervisor at Bellevue, he was an army doctor in the second World War and he's a bit put out with Ford's vaunted connections and let's him know it. And Basil Ruysdael is in a part that fits him perfectly the wise old family friend to Coburn and his clan. Ruysdael is also a doctor, a most prominent surgeon.

The Doctor And The Girl is a good addition to the roll of medical dramas. It's not all that different from what folks would be seeing soon on the small screen with Medic, Dr. Kildare, and Ben Casey. And remember this is MGM the people who did produce the Dr. Kildare series for the big screen.
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10/10
Good acting, well-written plot
taylorje2 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Dr. Michael Corday (played by Glenn Ford), only son of Dr. John Corday (Charles Coburn), has just graduated from medical school and returned home. His father, a prominent Manhattan physician, expects Michael to follow in his footsteps. Michael is annoyed at having to intern at an inner-city hospital and is rude and arrogant to his patients.

Michael's two sisters, Mariette (played by Nancy Davis, who later became First Lady Nancy Reagan) and Fabienne (Gloria DeHaven), still live at home but are planning their futures. Mariette is engaged to marry a young pediatrician. Fabienne announces that she is moving to Greenwich Village to live on her own. The family is shocked, but Michael supports Fabienne's decision.

Michael meets an attractive young woman named Taffy (played by Janet Leigh) at the hospital. He is arrogant with her, but she stands up to him and tells him to "remember that I'm a patient, doctor." He later apologizes and takes a personal interest in her case. Taffy requires surgery, and Michael uses his clout to obtain the services of a prominent physician. Meanwhile, his father has heard about Taffy, and disapproves because she is poor. Dr. Corday Sr. has Taffy discharged from the hospital before she is strong enough to leave, and warns Michael to stay away from her. But Michael defies his father and eventually marries Taffy, thereby cutting himself off from his family. Fabienne is on a path to self-destruction; her affair with a married man leads to tragedy; only Mariette remains the same calm, capable oldest child throughout the movie. Dr. Corday's attempts to control his adult children lead to arguments, estrangement, tragedy, and eventually a reuniting of the family.
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7/10
Good film, with Glenn Ford as a young doctor
blanche-221 March 2012
Glenn Ford is a young doctor from a well-connected family in "The Doctor and the Girl," a 1949 film also starring Janet Leigh, Charles Coburn, Gloria de Haven, Bruce Bennett, and Nancy Davis, our former first lady.

Ford plays Dr. Michael Corday, an up and coming doctor who comes to do a rotation in a hospital and brings a lot of his well-known doctor/father's attitudes with him. The senior Dr. Corday (Coburn) has fixed attitudes about family and medicine and runs his home with an iron fist. The first night that Michael returns home from his medical training, his sister Fabienne (de Haven) announces that she's moving to Greenwich Village. In those days it was absolutely unheard of for an unmarried woman to move out of the parental home, so her father's not happy.

Michael isn't liked at the hospital. He's snobby, brusque, and too clinical, interested in his work but not people. Then he runs into a woman he processed in the outpatient ward, Evelyn (Leigh), who is waiting for lung surgery, and he realizes how cold he was to her. He works to make it up to her, and they wind up falling in love, and over his father's strenuous objections, he marries her and gives up the important residency he was promised. He and Evelyn move to her Third Avenue apartment, and Michael sets up practice. Meanwhile, the only child that hasn't disappointed the senior Corday is Mariette (Davis), who is marrying a doctor (when her dad sets the date) and is living at home. Corday Sr. soon learns the effect of his rigidity.

I really liked this film. It was an absorbing family drama, maybe on the soapy side, but there's nothing wrong with that when the characters are well depicted. Glenn Ford is very sincere and likable in his role and gets to show a little more dramatic range than usual; the pretty Leigh is lovely as Evelyn, frail but with an inner toughness. The rest of the cast is solid. Bruce Bennett plays the ENT doctor Michael has to deal with on his rotation. Bennett was in countless films, an Olympic champion in 1928, and died 5 years ago at the age of 100.

Very good movie, well worth seeing.
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7/10
Top notch in a different era in medicine
vincentlynch-moonoi6 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER ALERT!!!!! This is a top notch film with a good script and excellent acting.

First off, the script. Basically you have a dysfunctional family headed by somewhat of a tyrant of a father (Charles Coburn). The main character of the story -- Glenn Ford -- is a young doctor and the son of Coburn. Coburn has his son's medical career all plotted out for him, and at first Ford follows his father's script in being a very efficient doctor with no bedside manner. He falls in love with a hospital patient (Janet Leigh) who is from the other side of the tracks (or in this case, the other side of the avenue). The father basically disowns the son, Meanwhile, another daughter (Gloria DeHaven) is a bit too wild, also rebels against her father, and does a self-given abortion. Another daughter -- Nancy Davis (Reagan) stays with the father, but is sympathetic toward her siblings and their situations. Is it a bit soapy? Well, a bit. But it's a good story, and I was particularly interested in the home medical practice depicted, which was very much like my childhood doctor's practice (although he lived in a decent home, rather than an extended apartment (and incidentally, this film was made the year I was born, and I think it's a fairly decent representation of the practice of medicine at the time).

While Glenn Ford isn't one of my favorite actors, I usually enjoy his work, and I would have to say that this was among his best roles. By the time this film was made, he was really coming into his own.

Charles Coburn is such an interesting character actor. He was as comfortable playing the kindly, humorous character, or in this case, the curmudgeon. And in playing this type of role, he never seemed to go overboard. Always played it just right to make it believable.

Gloria DeHaven was a "satisfactory" actress, but never in the "A" range. Here she does very nicely. Bruce Bennett, as another doctor, is very good here, as in Warner Anderson. Janet Leigh turns in a very effective performance as the seriously ill girl who becomes Ford's wife; one of her better roles! Basil Ruysdael -- one of those character actors you immediately recognize but whose name you don't know -- is superb here as the wise old doctor and family confidant...top notch! Nancy Davis, wife of Ronald Reagan, was another "satisfactory" actress; she does nicely here.

I'll tell you how good this film is: after watching it, I immediately ordered if from Amazon! A very good story, excellent acting, and more realism than you often see from Hollywood.
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8/10
Curtis Bernhardt's masterful direction makes this a superior movie
GodeonWay17 March 2018
Other reviewers of The Doctor and the Girl have rightfully praised its excellent treatment of a plot-line that at first glance seems familiar, even hackneyed. Of course, the sterling performances of everybody on screen are a huge asset to the picture. But for me, the gold medal has to be given to Curtis Bernhardt's expert handling of Theodore Reeves' adroit screenplay.

It's a tightly-paced film, with very few exteriors. But Bernhardt's brilliant interiors give superb depth to each scene and each character, from stern Charles Coburn to sylphlike Janet Leigh to earnest Bruce Bennett (in a great supporting role as an unassuming ENT specialist). The director keeps everybody's performance low-key and believable. In her first scenes, sickly Janet Leigh seems to be wearing no makeup at all. And even Charles Coburn isn't allowed to milk his scenes to the limit.

A master of lighting and camera angles, Bernhardt was one of the numerous excellent filmmakers in exile from Nazi Germany. His filmography is a strong one, studded with many entertaining films of the forties and fifties. Conflict, starring a quintessential Humphrey Bogart, and My Reputation with Barbara Stanwyck at her best, are two goodies that come to mind. And let's not forget Possessed, highlighted by Joan Crawford's hallucinatory performance.

But unlike some other exiled directors - such as Wilder, Lubitsch, Lang and Sirk - Curtis Bernhardt hasn't got any universally acclaimed masterpieces on his résumé, so he is often neglected by movie historians. But he was certainly a talent to reckon with, and any of his pictures deserve a careful look.

P.S. I totally concur with EliotTempleton's comments about Hollywood having a very long history of movies with medical themes. In fact Theodore Reeves, the main writer for this film, was the author of many medical screenplays dating back to the 1930s.
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8/10
In answer to SimonJack's review on 6-3-2013
EliotTempleton28 February 2015
I just wanted to say that the above reviewer is a bit misinformed regarding the history of films about physicians, particularly in the '30s. There was no shortage of movies with doctors as the central character in the early sound era, and some of them are "Men in White," "Internes Can't Take Money," "The Citadel," "Strange Interlude," "Symphony of Six Million," "Arrowsmith," "Yellow Jack," "Doctor X" "The Story of Louis Pasteur," just to name a few off the top of my head, without doing any research. Paramount's "Internes Can't Take Money," starring Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea, was the first movie to feature the character of Dr. James Kildare, created by author Max Brand. I'm sure that the studio's executives rued the fact that they didn't have the foresight to feature the sympathetic young doctor in a series, which is what M-G-M did, starring Lew Ayres as the compassionate and crusading Dr. Jimmy Kildare. That series, by the way, started in the '30s with "Young Dr. Kildare" in 1938, followed by "Calling Dr. Kildare" and "The Secret of Dr. Kildare" in 1939. So, you see, there were quite a few doctors gracing movie screens throughout the 1930s.
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9/10
Before "soaps," there were a few very good MD movies
SimonJack2 June 2013
Very few films were made before the 1970s with doctors and medicine as the main subjects. Hollywood had made the jump to sound movies in 1929, but the medical profession wasn't much in the public's eye – at least not in the realm of entertainment. Two films in the 1930s were mainly about doctors and medicine – "One Man's Journey," in 1933, and "Magnificent Obsession," in 1935. Both films had major stars of the time and were successes, but their plots were very serious. Film historians have said that Hollywood thought the public was too wary of somber subjects. People living through the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II needed more light-hearted entertainment. Having fun helped take their minds off their troubles for a while. So, comedy, romance, mystery and musicals best fit the bill for the film industry at the time. But, with the end of WW II, movie interests began to expand.

One of the very first films focused on doctors and medicine was this 1949 MGM movie, "The Doctor and the Girl." It may have piqued the interest in other quarters for more such stories. A British film, "White Corridors," came out in 1951, and in 1954, a remake of "Magnificent Obsession" scored another box office hit. Interest in medical heroes and plots continued to grow. A 1961 movie, "The Young Doctors," had a huge cast. That same year, the first popular daytime TV medical drama (aka, soap opera) aired. "Dr. Kildare" ran through 1966. In 1962, "General Hospital" premiered. In 2013, the Guinness Book of World Records lists it as the longest-running American soap, and it's still going strong. Only two other TV series have gone longer, but both are now off the air. By the 1970s, the medical field began to emerge as a major sub-genre for films and TV programs. Shows ranged from drama to comedy, romance to crime and mystery, war to sci-fi, and even horror scripts.

With new TV programs and films about doctors and medicine today, the very earliest movies still stand out for their excellent stories and performances by top casts. "The Doctor and the Girl" is such a film. The plot may seem to be so familiar today, but it wasn't at the time. Indeed, it was a leader in showing conflict between "high brow" medicine and that practiced for common folks. The performances by the stars are outstanding – Glenn Ford, Janet Leigh, Charles Coburn, Gloria De Haven, Bruce Bennett, and Basil Ruysdael. This is a movie worthy of any film library.
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7/10
Life and Death Subject Matter Handled Well
tr-8349510 July 2019
Even though it's reminiscent of pure soap opera, there is something legitimate here to keep you watching. In this case, it's the life and death subject matter and the "doctor's" decision to practice medicine in the poor part of town that keep the film vibrant. Parts are played well by all actors, allowing the plotline to be preeminent, as it should be.

We have a cohesive narrative here produced sensibly and wisely -- that reins it in, and takes it out of the realm of soap opera. This movie is "thinking" entertainment and is well worth watching.
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6/10
lesser known G. Ford film
ksf-214 July 2019
Such big names in this one... Glenn Ford had just made the awesome GILDA a couple years back... Charles Coburn was a character in so many old, mostly black and white films. although Gentlemen Prefer Blonds WAS in color. Janet Leigh, of course, will go on to make Psycho ten years later. and little ol Nancy Davis Reagan will be Mrs. President Reagan. Ford is the newly accomplished Doctor Corday. He runs into all kinds of serious issues, with patients at his hospital, as well as his own father, the older Doctor Corday ( Coburn). Will his good wishes for a patient interfere with his life at home? and will his dis-approving family let him live life his own way? it's like an episode of General Hospital, before there was such a thing. lessons about bedside manner and doctor skills. some pretty big issues about things that were just beginning to be discussed, towards the end of the film production code. Directed by Curtis Bernhardt, who also did Possessed (J. Crawford) and Stolen Life (B. Davis). He certainly worked with the greats. This one is just pretty okay. can't give it very high marks.
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6/10
Not bad...
MartinHafer22 April 2012
Considering that Charles Coburn is a supporting actor in this film, it's not at all surprising that I watched "The Doctor and the Girl", as he's one of my favorite actors from Hollywood's golden age.

Glenn Ford plays a brilliant young doctor--and the son of a brilliant and well-respected older doctor (Coburn). Ford really looks up to his father and wishes to be just like him--including having a VERY dispassionate outlook towards his patients. At first, those around the doctor at the hospital didn't like him--he was too emotionally disconnected from his patients' pain. But, through the course of the film, he has lots of reason to second-guess this approach....as well as other aspects of this domineering man he'd so long idolized.

Overall, this is a decent little film. However, to me, the ending seemed pretty weak and difficult to believe. Still, it's a bit better than average and worth your time if you, too, are a Coburn-ite! Glenn Ford--overplayed his 'dispassionate' act
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6/10
She's Janet Leigh
SnoopyStyle9 July 2019
Michael Corday (Glenn Ford) is an arrogant medical school graduate. His father is a highly successful doctor in New York City. He fights with his sister who wants to move out with her boyfriend. He begins an internship at Bellevue Hospital. He dislikes the chaos and dismisses the patients. He is reprimanded for his bad bedside manners. He tries to be nice to candy store girl Evelyn (Janet Leigh) and starts to fall in love with his patient. His father disapproves of the budding relationship and threatens to pull his support.

This movie feels rather dated and I'm not complaining about it. She's Janet Leigh and his father is bent out of shape. Just look at her. Have you got eyes? Quite frankly, she's a grounded character. Her greatest sin is poverty. The father's argument should be that she's a gold-digger. It shouldn't be a matter of professional advancement. If they want to marry, she can dress up to be a doctor's wife. His advancement should be a separate issue after he starts up the clinic for the poor. The dated morality actually holds a bit of interest for me. On the other hand, the drama isn't that high.
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