Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Twentieth Century-Fox borrowed Spencer Tracy, from MGM for the sprawling (yet economically produced) historical drama Stanley and Livingstone. Tracy plays 19th-century American journalist Henry M. Stanley, an adventure-prone sort who is assigned by his editor (Henry Hull) to locate lost Scottish missionary David Livingstone (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) in darkest Africa. There are perils aplenty before the inevitable meeting in the clearing, capped by the immortal courtesy "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Though seriously ill, Livingstone is content ministering to the natives, declining Stanley's invitation to return home. Upon arriving back to civilization, Stanley tells his story of Dr. Livingstone, but without tangible proof, he is accused of perpetrating a fraud. Only at the very last moment is Stanley vindicated; at this point, he decides to go back to Africa to continue the late Dr. Livingstone's work. This didn't happen in real life, nor is the studio-dictated romance between Spencer Tracy and Nancy Kelly completely copacetic with the facts; outside of this, Stanley and Livingstone comes pretty close to living up to Fox's ad-campaign slogan "The Most Heroic Exploit the World Has Known."
danger, disease, doctor/nurse, hunting, journalism, search