As we continue on with more films featuring this month’s Star, Barbara Stanwyck, we’ve got her 1937 film Internes Can’t Take Money, also starring Joel McCrea!
Coming Up Shorts! with… In The Pink (1967)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 2 (1966-1968) from Kino Lorber)
(Length: 6 minutes, 13 seconds)
Feeling a little fat, the Pink Panther goes to the gym to work out. This one is really funny, with all the things that the Panther does to exercise (all the while causing trouble for the poor Little Man in the process)! I find many of the gags be quite funny, especially the one with the punching bag and the chicken! Some are predictable, like the “shadow-boxing,” but they don’t take away from what is a very funny cartoon worth coming back to with some frequency!
And Now For The Main Feature…
At Mountview General Hospital, medical intern Dr. James Kildare (Joel McCrea) is trying to take care of the various people that come to see him. One of his patients is Janet Haley (Barbara Stanwyck), who has come in to take care of some burns. They feel an instant spark for each other, but she faints from hunger as she is about to leave. When she comes to, Dr. Kildare gives her something to drink, and advises her to come back the next day about her burns. Afterwards, Dr. Kildare and the other residents are summoned to Dr. Henry J. Fearson’s (Pierre Watkin) office. There, fellow intern Jim Weeks (Lee Bowman) is fired for performing an experimental operation on a patient that died afterwards (a procedure that he and Dr. Kildare had worked out together, but only Weeks had a chance to do first). Dr. Kildare takes his friend Weeks to the bar across from the hospital. Janet also goes to that same bar, where she tries to talk with gangster Dan Innes (Stanley Ridges). As we find out, her late husband was a crook, and kidnapped their daughter to keep Janet quiet. However, a bank robbery he was involved in went wrong, and he died from being shot (but never revealed the location of their daughter). Janet was sent to prison herself for two years (because she was accused of being his accomplice), and, having been released, was now trying desperately to find her daughter. Innes (who knew her husband) tells her that he might have some information, but it would cost her $1000 (which she doesn’t have). Gangster Hanlon (Lloyd Nolan) walks in the place with a bad knife wound, and Dr. Kildare tries to save him there (since Hanlon’s men won’t let Dr. Kildare take him to a hospital), with Janet’s help. The next day, Janet tries to follow a lead on her daughter (and fails) before trying to talk with Innes again. He still wants the $1000 dollars to give Janet the information, but also offers her up the possibility of sleeping with him to get the information (which she turns down). Due to this detour, she is late to work and is fired. Since she doesn’t come back to Dr. Kildare, he decides to go see her in person and take her a meal. On the way, he stops at the bar, where he is given an envelope by one of Hanlon’s men (which he later finds out has $1000 in it). Dr. Kildare tells Janet about it, but also mentions that he has to give it back (since interns aren’t allowed to accept money). Janet tries to steal the money when she thinks he isn’t looking, but he catches her at it, and is disappointed in her. He gives the money back to Hanlon, who offers to do him a favor if he needs it. Faced with no other choice, Janet reluctantly decides to go along with Innes’s proposition. She has one last appointment with Dr. Kildare about her burns, and she gives him a note explaining things (but asks him to read it later). However, he decides to read it sooner, and, realizing the fix she is in, asks Hanlon to help find her and Innes before they can do anything she might regret. But will Dr. Kildare and Hanlon be in time? Or, for that matter, will Janet be able to find her missing daughter?
This was another captivating performance from Barbara Stanwyck. As a desperate mother and an ex-con, we see her fighting to find her missing daughter. She has her limits to what she is willing to do, but, with hope slowly dissipating as time goes on, those principles are harder to hold onto. In the end, she is willing to sacrifice herself and her own happiness in the hope of having her daughter restored to her (and, with the help of others that she cares for, she finally succeeds).
The story for this film was taken from Max Brand’s story (of the same name) that appeared in Hearst’s International-Cosmopolitan in 1936. This marked the first appearance of Dr. Kildare on film, and it was almost the last, as the box office was lower than expected, resulting in Paramount dropping any possible plans for a series (although MGM thought they could do something with the character and bought the rights, turning it into a successful series at their studio with Lew Ayres cast as Dr. Kildare). Personally, while I have known of the Dr. Kildare films, it’s never been a series that I’ve been interested in. I mainly saw this film because of Barbara Stanwyck’s presence in it (and she certainly didn’t disappoint). I think Joel McCrea did a good job as the doctor, giving us an honest man, who wants to help people (like trying to come up with a better operating procedure for liver operations), and, due to the rules, is unwilling to accept the money that a gangster tried to give him for saving his life (even though he found it tempting). I think that Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea work well together (in what was the third of six films pairing them together), making their onscreen couple work, even with her character’s principles going down the drain as she tries to find her daughter. It’s an interesting start to the overall Dr. Kildare series (although I really only like this cast and am unlikely to dig into any of the Lew Ayres films at MGM). This is one I would certainly recommend!
What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Internes Can’t Take Money (1937)
This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the three film Barbara Stanwyck Collection from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Like the films in the other collections I’ve reviewed so far, it mainly sports an HD scan (at least, to the best of my admittedly limited knowledge on the subject). For the most part, it looks quite good with very little damage evident onscreen, outside of a few moments here and there. It may not be a full-fledged restoration, but, at the same time, it doesn’t look like it needs one, and is probably the best one can hope for at this time. I certainly think it is worth it!
Film Length: 1 hour, 19 minutes
My Rating: 8/10
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List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Joel McCrea – Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
Barbara Stanwyck Collection – The Great Man’s Lady (1942)