The Citadel

The CitadelCitadel Poster 2
Directed by King Vidor
Written by Ian Dalrymple et al based on the novel by A.J. Cronin
1938/UK
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios

First viewing; Warner Archives DVD

Tagline: Secrets of a doctor as told by a doctor!

Robert Donat is wonderful in this medical melodrama.

Idealistic doctor Andrew Manson (Donat) gets his first post-graduate job as the assistant to a doctor in a Welsh mining village.  There he runs into his first hurdle when he refuses to re-certify some of the union leaders as unfit to work or to give miners who need the work “pink medicine” for their persistent coughs.  He is told to go with the flow or else so quits and applies for a position in a larger mining town.  He can’t get this without being married so proposes to schoolteacher Christine (Rosalind Russell)  without preliminaries.

In the town, Manson is increasingly suspicious that the miner’s coughs are caused by anthracite dust.  He wants to study the disease by hospitalizing the men.  This is summarily rejected so he and Christine set up a laboratory to do their own research. Eventually, the lab is smashed to bits by angry, suspicious miners and the couple set out for London.

After a year of struggling, Manson finally stumbles upon a wealthy hysterical patient and is adopted by other high-society doctors.  He becomes a Harley Street physician more interested in new cars than patients.  A tragic accident causes him to reevaluate his priorities.  With Ralph Richardson as a fellow idealist and Rex Harrison as one of the London doctors.

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While this is not the most dynamic story ever made, I enjoyed it for its acting.  Donat rises high above his material.  This is also the earliest film I could truly get behind Rosalind Russell in, though she didn’t hit her stride until she started doing comedy.  King Vidor keeps the story moving.

Robert Donat received his first Academy Award nomination for his work on The Citadel. The film was also nominated in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing (Screenplay).

Trailer

 

2 thoughts on “The Citadel

  1. Although I am a huge Donat fan and rather like Russell, this film did nothing for me. I felt it crawled along and was pretty predictable. I read the Cronin book and this was a good translation to film but it was just not my cup of tea.

    • It was really predictable and melodramatic. I thought it was competent and liked the acting so it was easy to keep watching for me.

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