Men in White (1934 film)

Men in White is a 1934 pre-Code film starring Clark Gable and Myrna Loy, and directed by Ryszard Bolesławski.The story is loosely based on the Sidney Kingsley play of the same name. Due to suggestions of illicit romance and abortion, the film was frequently cut. The Legion of Decency cited the movie as unfit for public exhibition.

Men in White
original film poster
Directed byRyszard Bolesławski
Produced byMonta Bell
Written bySidney Kingsley
StarringClark Gable
Myrna Loy
Music byWilliam Axt
CinematographyGeorge J. Folsey
Edited byFrank Sullivan
Production
company
Release date
April 6, 1934 (1934-04-06)
Running time
74 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$213,000[1]
Box office$1,455,000[1]

Plot

A dedicated young doctor places his patients above everyone else in his life. However, his Social Register fianceé, Laura Hudson(Myrna Loy), can't accept the fact that he considers an appointment in the operating room more important than attending a cocktail party. He soon drifts into an affair with a pretty nurse who shares his passion for healing.

One thread of the story involves diabetic hypoglycemia:[2] Two doctors have a conflict at the bedside of a young girl who is desperately ill. The younger doctor diagnoses (correctly) that the patient is in insulin shock (needing glucose), while the senior doctor insists she is in a diabetic coma (needing insulin). The doctor with the correct diagnosis prevails and the child recovers.

Cast

Censorship

Although there were no overt references to abortion in the original script the Hays Office found the story to be in violation of the Production Code because they believed that there were clear indications that Barbara Denham’s illness was brought about by an attempted abortion. Ultimately, MGM cut some lines to accommodate their concerns. Despite these changes there were protests against the film by moral reformers and religious groups. Men in White was one of the first films condemned by the newly formed Legion of Decency.[3]

Reception

The film was very successful at the box office.[4] According to MGM records, it earned $890,000 in the US and Canada, and $565,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $784,000.[1]

Radio adaptation

Men in White was presented on the Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre on CBS on July 19, 1943. The 30-minute sanitized adaptation starred Jean Hersholt, James Craig, and Louise Allbritton.[5]

References

  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles, California: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study
  2. William Dufty, Sugar Blues (1975), page 97
  3. Kirby, David A. (September 2017). "Regulating cinematic stories about reproduction: pregnancy, childbirth, abortion and movie censorship in the US, 1930–1958". The British Journal for the History of Science. 50 (3): 451–472. doi:10.1017/S0007087417000814. ISSN 0007-0874.
  4. Churchill, Douglas W. The Year in Hollywood: 1934 May Be Remembered as the Beginning of the Sweetness-and-Light Era (gate locked); New York Times [New York, NY], December 30, 1934, page X5; retrieved December 16, 2013.
  5. "Allbritton, Louise". radioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
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