Synopsis by Michael Costello
One of the more prestigious films of its time, John Ford's film adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has a sleek Art Deco look strangely out of tune with its tale of moral struggle. Ronald Colman stars as Martin Arrowsmith, an idealistic young doctor, who, after graduating from medical school, must forego a research position with Dr. Max Gottlieb (A.E. Anson) due to his marriage to nurse Leora Tozer (Helen Hayes). He returns to her rural hometown and establishes a small practice, and in his spare time eventually develops a serum for a deadly cow disease. Based on this work he is able to return to work under Dr. Gottlieb. When Dr. Gustav Sondelius (Richard Bennett), a friend of the researchers, informs them about a plague devouring the West Indies, Arrowsmith decides to travel to the area to test whether the serum he's working on might be effective in combatting it. The white citizens of the area refuse to allow themselves to be the subjects of an experiment, but black Harvard-educated Dr. Oliver Marchand (Clarence Brooks) persuades the island's native population to go along with Arrowsmith's plan.
doctor, epidemic, marriage, nurse, serum