Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940)

Genres - Drama  |   Release Date - Nov 29, 1940 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 75 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Bruce Eder

Harold S. Bucquet's Dr. Kildare's Crisis is relatively undistinguished as an entry in the long-running MGM film series. It has the dramatic corners all smoothed out and perfectly executed, as well it should a half-dozen movies into the series, and the comic-relief elements are effective if predictable. For a good reason to invest 75 minutes, look to the always-worthwhile Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Gillespie, who dominates every scene that he's in; an unusually strong performance by Robert Young as the troubled soon-to-be brother-in-law of the hero, a man hiding a potentially terrible secret about himself and his family; and a pretty fair script, at least where the central plot is concerned. The screenplay, credited to Harry Ruskin and Willis Goldbeck, delves into areas of behavioral psychology that were unusual in major studio B-pictures of the day, and the medical side of the narrative -- though colored by the prejudices of the day concerning a diagnosis of epilepsy -- is fairly sophisticated. There's enough to like about this picture to make it worth a look, or even a second look, and the story is good enough that it could easily have been transposed to the 1960's Dr. Kildare television series without too many changes in the basic content.