The Last Angry Man (1959)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

In danger of losing his job, TV-producer David Wayne hopes to cook up a real ratings winner by building a network special around the life and work of elderly doctor Paul Muni. For the past 45 years, the iconoclastic Muni has run a free clinic in the slums of Brooklyn. Muni has no time for television, however, so Wayne tries to get Muni's lifelong friend Luther Adler to talk the doctor into appearing before the cameras. Adler agrees, on the proviso that Wayne's network promises to build a nice home in the suburbs for the physician and his wife (Nancy R. Pollock). Going to work on Muni, Adler convinces the old man that a coast-to-coast special will permit him to vent his spleen on the subject of the mercenary medical profession. On the night of the broadcast, Muni discovers that one of his slum patients, Billy Dee Williams, has been arrested for car theft. Leaving Wayne high and dry, Muni rushes down to the police station, where he is pressed into service to save a life. While doing so, he suffers a fatal heart attack, with the weeping Adler at his side. Wayne finally realizes that Muni's selfless idealism was of greater value than any commercially-motivated television program, and says as much when he hands in his resignation. The Last Angry Man turned out to be the cinematic swan song for veteran-actor Paul Muni; he died eight years later. Based on a novel by Gerald Green, The Last Angry Man would be remade for television with Pat Hingle in the Muni role.



doctor/nurse, altruism, poverty, television, urban-problems