Private Worlds (1935)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Medical Drama, Psychological Drama  |   Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

The first major film about psychiatry, Private Worlds stars Claudette Colbert as a psychiatrist with more than a few problems of her own. Colbert's appointment to a top mental hospital is frowned upon by head doctor Charles Boyer, who doesn't have much confidence in woman doctors of any kind. A secondary storyline involves Boyer's sister Helen Vinson, who lusts for a young married doctor (Joel McCrea). The doctor's wife (Joan Bennett) subsequently goes insane in an "off-angled" scene anticipating the techniques of film noir by nearly a decade. Meanwhile, doctors Boyer and Colbert establish a mutual respect which deepens into love. Based on a novel by Phyllis Bottomes, Private Worlds is stronger in its vignettes (including a scene in which Boyer comforts a dying patient by speaking a few words in the patient's native tongue) than in its longer "plot" scenes.



asylum [mental hospital], doctor, mental-institution, psychiatrist, sister