Arrowsmith

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"HE FOUGHT FOR MAN... and lost a woman!"
  • NR
  • 1931
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 6.2  (1,929)

Arrowsmith, released in 1931, is a classic drama film directed by John Ford and starring Ronald Colman, Helen Hayes, and Richard Bennett. The movie is based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1926, and it tells the story of Martin Arrowsmith, a gifted and ambitious young scientist who struggles to reconcile his ideals with the harsh realities of the world.

The movie starts with Martin Arrowsmith (played by Ronald Colman) as a poor medical student studying at the McGurk Institute. Despite his lack of money, he is determined to become a doctor and help people. Martin's girlfriend, Leora Tozer (Helen Hayes), supports him in his studies, but they face numerous challenges, including Martin's mentor, Dr. Max Gottlieb (A.E. Anson), who is frustrated with Martin's reluctance to conform to his ideas.

After graduation, Martin becomes a doctor in a rural community, where he faces the challenges of a small town practitioner. There, he develops a serum to stop an outbreak of the plague but is criticized by his colleagues, who think he is practicing medicine in an unorthodox manner. Later, Martin moves to New York to begin his research on bacteriology, and succeeds in developing a vaccine that has the potential to save millions of lives.

The movie takes a turn as Martin's ethics come to the forefront when he learns that the vaccine would be more profitable if it was used only on the rich. Martin declares that medical research should be for the benefit of all people, rich or poor, and decides to make the discovery public.

Arrowsmith examines the sacrifices and moral dilemma of being a dedicated scientist. The protagonist's pursuit of his dreams often leads him into conflicts with the society he lives in, but he remains loyal to his values by never letting his moral compass waver. This creates several tense moments throughout the movie and viewers are left on the edge of their seats many times.

However, the film's pace drags in some of the more drawn-out scenes, occasionally causing plot development to become tedious. The performance of the actors, on the other hand, breathes life into the movie's philosophical message, delivering poignant and powerful performances that make the viewers feel the weight of the characters' struggles.

Arrowsmith was a unique film for its time, presenting the scientific community in a different light than the stereotypical “mad scientist”. Instead, Arrowsmith focuses on the devoted scientist who spends years of research to find cures for diseases rather than the scientist who creates destruction with a new invention. At the dawn of the scientific revolution, the film had a significant impact in creating an appreciation for medical research, earning it critical acclaim and four Oscar nominations, with Helen Hayes winning the award for Best Supporting Actress.

In conclusion, Arrowsmith is a classic piece of cinematic history that captivates viewers with its philosophical message and powerful performances. The movie's characters are fully developed, each with their own unique struggles, and each of them, a critical element in the portrayal of the scientific community. The film’s cinematography and direction is a slow burn, and its pacing may make the journey less entertaining, but the message it delivers is timeless, timeless - even 90 years after its release. If you're in the mood for a thought-provoking classic, this is the movie for you.

Arrowsmith is a 1931 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 39 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.2.

Arrowsmith
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Where to Watch Arrowsmith
Arrowsmith is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free, Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Arrowsmith for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
    1931
  • MPAA Rating
    NR
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (1,929)