Doctor Bull (1933)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Medical Drama  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Doctor Bull is one of the less-often-shown of the films that John Ford made at Fox, from the first half of the 1930s. Its sheer obscurity made it an object of curiosity when 20th Century-Fox released the "Ford At Fox" collection in 2006, but a close look reveals a movie that is a period piece in many of the wrong ways. The plot, concerning small-town life and morality and a man's running afoul of the latter, could hold up well, especially as the man in question is played by Will Rogers, who certainly knew how to win an audience over. The problem lies in Ford's direction, which seems to be a throwback to the silent era in terms of emoting and nuances on the part of the cast, coupled with the relative lack of camera movement typical of the early sound era (and the silent era circa the teens). The primitive acting styles and directorial technique make for a surprisingly slow-going 90 minutes for modern viewers, even making allowances for the movie's age and giving Ford all manner of benefits of the doubt.