Dr. Kildare's Crisis

Dr. Kildare's Crisis is a 1940 drama film directed by Harold S. Bucquet, starring Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore and Laraine Day. Mary Lamont's (Laraine Day) financier brother Douglas Lamont (Robert Young) is subject to seizures, and it seems that he is suffering from hereditary epilepsy.[1]

Dr. Kildare's Crisis
Lobby card
Directed byHarold S. Bucquet
Written byMax Brand
Willis Goldbeck
Screenplay byHarry Ruskin
Willis Goldbeck
StarringLew Ayres
Lionel Barrymore
Laraine Day
Music byDavid Snell
CinematographyJohn F. Seitz
Edited byGene Ruggiero
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
November 29, 1940 (1940-11-29)
Running time
75 min.
CountryUnited States

This was the sixth in the MGM series of nine Dr. Kildare, from 1938-1942 with Lew Ayres as Dr. Kildare. This was the sixth of a series of ten Dr. Kildare pictures; the first of which starred Joel McCrea as Kildare.

Plot summary

As young doctor James Kildare (Lew Ayres) and his fianceé, nurse Mary Lamont (Laraine Day), make plans for their wedding day, Mary's brother Douglas (Robert Young) arrives for a visit. Douglas asks Kildare and to arrange a meeting with wealthy Mr. Chandler (Pierre Watkin), whose daughter Kildare saved in Young Doctor Kildare, to solicit an endowment of a foundation to create three subsidized trade schools to train unskilled workers. Kildare is reluctant to impose on Chandler for ethical reasons but is concerned that Doug, who hears nonexistent sounds, may be an undiagnosed epileptic. His apparent interest in Doug only as an "interesting patient" causes a row with Mary that leads him to change his mind.

Soon after, the happy couple's optimism evaporates into despair when Douglas begins experience mysterious mood swings, further pointing to a form of epilepsy, a condition that threatens his marriage to Mary. Kildare arranges for Doug to meet Chandler but refuses to confide in Mary his unconfirmed suspicions. After Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Lionel Barrymore), Kildare's crusty mentor, also demurs, Mary reveals her fears that they are hiding from her some hereditary condition she may also have to nurse superintendent Molly Byrd (Alma Kruger), who reassures Mary and pleads with her to patiently trust them.

Kildare visits Doug with news that Chandler's partners will meet with Doug the next day, which convinces a moody Doug to agree to a diagnostic experiment, in which Dr. Kildare administers coffee, whiskey, steak and salt to Doug and lies to him in order to shock his nervous system. Doug's rapid recovery from his depressed condition suggests that Kildare's assumption is correct. Kildare sadly concurs that treatment means at best a lifetime of mediocrity but without treatment, a complete disintegration of the brain and death.

Doug reveals the situation to Mary. As a result, she and Doug decide to run away, but their flight is interrupted by Kildare, who convinces them to talk again with Gillespie. Gillespie's shrewd questioning of Doug elicits that he suffered a recent untreated head injury he had been concealing that might be responsible for the symptoms. When a further examination reveals a head trauma that is remedied by a brain operation, the future again looks bright for Doug, Mary and her young doctor, who learns the truism that doctors cannot treat their loved ones.



MGM Dr. Kildare films


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