Disputed Passage

Disputed Passage is a 1939 American war film starring John Howard, Dorothy Lamour, Akim Tamiroff and Judith Barrett.[1] Set in war-torn China, the film was described by The New York Times as a "lavish soap opera". The film was based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Lloyd C. Douglas, and was produced by Paramount Pictures.[2]

Disputed Passage
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Directed byFrank Borzage
Produced byHarlan Thompson
Written byLloyd C. Douglas
Sheridan Gibney
StarringDorothy Lamour
Akim Tamiroff
John Howard
Judith Barrett
William Collier, Sr.
Music byFriedrich Hollaender
John Leipold
CinematographyWilliam C. Mellor
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
October 27, 1939 (1939-10-27)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States


Young medical student John Wesley Beaven is torn between the detached, cold pragmatism of Dr. Forster (Akim Tamiroff) and the humanistic attitudes of kindly Dr. Cunningham (William Collier Sr.). Matters are brought to a head when Beaven must choose between his career and impending marriage to fellow student Audrey Hilton (Dorothy Lamour). Dr. Forster convinces Audrey to return to her native China and let Howard pursue his studies undistracted. She takes Forster's advice, but Howard follows her. Once in the Orient he is injured in a bomb blast, and in a makeshift hospital, Dr. Forster is called on to perform a risky operation to save his life.


Critical reception

The New York Times concluded,"if you have gathered from the foregoing that Disputed Passage smacks of synthetic drama and not too subtle moralizing, you have gleaned aright. What you might not have gathered is that the film, particularly in its early phases, has been forcefully written and rather well played. While there no longer is much news in the conflict between the sympathetic, sentimental physician and the cold scientist who caustically challenges his medical class to find a human soul in their dissections, the topic remains a fertile and provocative one." [2] and Allmovie wrote, "kudos again to director Frank Borzage for bringing warmth and credibility to the most sloppily sentimental of storylines." [3]


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