Take a dash of pre-marital pregnancy; add a snootful of anti-medical stuffiness; mix in a bit of miracle healing; liberally lace with sophistication, cynicism and social consciousness and garnish with Cary Grant, and this is the kind of unconventional cinematic cocktail which writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers in this old but surprisingly up-to-date movie.
When Mankiewicz made the film, he was riding high on the back of his many-Oscared success with All About Eve (1950). Otherwise, it’s hard to see even a brash producer like Darryl F. Zanuck allowing the iconoclastic director to take on so many scared cows in an era when those cows were allowed to graze in lush and protected pastures.
Taken from a German novel, Dr Praetorius, the story deals with an unconventional medico (Grant) who survives accusations of medical malpractice, marriage to a pregnant patient (Jeanne Crain), and even an unusual brush with the law. It’s a field day for Cary Grant, who carries off his unconventional role with all the flair he is capable of.
Walter Slezak (as Professor Barker) provides much of the comedy and witty lines. Finlay Currie is the Doctor’s mysterious assistant and constant companion (Shunderson), and Hume Cronyn plays the devious and deceitful Professor Elwell.
Dr Noah Praetorius
Professor Rodney Elwell
Dean Lyman Brockwell
Joseph L. Mankiewicz