Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day

Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day is a 1941 American drama film directed by Harold S. Bucquet, starring Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, and Laraine Day. This was the ninth of a total of ten Dr. Kildare pictures made by the MGM studios. When MGM decided to move up-and-coming star Laraine Day out of the "Dr. Kildare" series, the studio did so in a startlingly dramatic fashion.[1] Adding extra interest to this film in the Kildare series, Barrymore composed the music credited to the Cornelia Bartlett character, and actor Red Skelton provides comic relief.

Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day
Lobby card
Directed byHarold S. Bucquet
Written byMax Brand
Ormond Ruthven
Lawrence P. Bachmann
Screenplay byWillis Goldbeck
Harry Ruskin
StarringLew Ayres
Lionel Barrymore
Laraine Day
Music byBronislau Kaper and Lionel Barrymore
CinematographyGeorge J. Folsey
Edited byConrad A. Nervig
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
August 22, 1941 (1941-08-22)
Running time
83 min.
CountryUnited States

Plot summary

Dr. James Kildare is finally marrying nurse Mary Lamont and everyone at Blair General Hospital in New York is preparing for the wedding. The wedding engenders mixed feelings in his mentor, the gruff, wheelchair-bound Dr. Leonard Gillespie, who realizes his protégé will have less time for him. Worried about his mood, superintendent of nurses Molly Byrd urges Gillespie to find a diversion to take his mind off Kildare.

While attending a performance of Die Walküre, Gillespie is invited to meet the conductor, Maestro Labardi, and notices that he has a physical problem. The next day Labardi comes to Gillespie for an examination. The maestro tells Gillespie that he is losing his hearing and the doctor becomes determined to help him save his career. Gillespie, who has been struggling with melanoma for several years, is so intrigued by the case that he cancels a stay with his cancer specialist, Dr. Lockberg, who contacts Kildare at his wedding rehearsal in Connecticut. Kildare returns immediately and shames Gillespie into completing his appointment.

While Mary continues with the wedding preparations, Kildare and Gillespie both try to solve Labardi's loss of hearing. Kildare must miss a surprise party for his stag night, so Mary goes instead. Tragically and unexpectedly, she is struck by a truck when she steps into the street with her mind on her happiness instead of traffic. Kildare rushes to her side when told of her accident and arrives just before she dies. Her last words: "This is going to be much easier for me than it is for you."

Kildare is devastated and unable to continue his work. Gillespie, after a month at Lockberg's clinic, receives a call from Kildare's badly worried father. Gillespie decides to immerse Kildare in the Labardi case to take his mind off Mary's death. Kildare sees Gillespie in his mentor's childhood home and is told the story of a composer, Cornelia Bartlett, with whom Gillespie was in love years ago. She died from yellow fever before Dr. Walter Reed could find a cure for it. It was Reed who convinced Gillespie to focus on medicine instead of his loss.

Kildare reluctantly agrees to return to the hospital for a week, just to help out on the Labardi case. He has a breakthrough on the case, diagnosing a Vitamin B1 deficiency caused by his diet as the source of the impaired hearing. They treat the condition and soon his problems are resolved. Kildare and Gillespie attend a concert where Labardi conducts music written by Cornelia. In a winking bit of cinematic self-reference, after the concert Gillespie can't help but mention that he might have helped Cornelia write the musical score. Kildare is convinced to go on with his life and career as a physician.


See also


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