Monday, October 1, 2012

Uncoventional (for Unconventional)

I just watched a 1951 film called People Will Talk, starring Cary Grant and Jeanne Crain. Grant plays his usual playfully gallant, almost indifferently gorgeous good guy, in this case an unconventional (what nowadays might be termed "holistic") doctor who treats his patients with humanity, conversation, and compassion. This unorthodox approach, of course, almost gets him run out of town on a rail. (Actually, this almost happened in the small town he previously worked in as well, when the residents became alarmed to discover he had a medical degree.) The movie is supposedly based on a true story and is a remake of the 1950 German film Frauenarzt Dr. Pr├Ątorius, itself based on a play by Curt Goetz. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz has said the movie reflects his own experience with McCarthyism. This is most clearly conveyed during a scene in which the good doctor is interrogated in a professional misconduct hearing at the medical school where he works. According to a review on the CinemaForever website, People Will Talk addresses other social issues as well, such as the pregnancy of an unmarried woman, the "corrosive effect of unfettered capitalism [and] the human cost of the Korean war, among others." "Did it ever occur to you, Shunderson," the doctor asks his mysteriously shambolic, shaman-like sidekick, while standing in front of an anatomy class, "that skeletons always laugh? Now, why? Why should a man die and then laugh for the rest of eternity?" That's a good question, Dr. Praetorius, but in the meantime, we shouldn't have to simply grin and bear it when it comes to fixing today's typo, which occurs six times in OhioLINK, and 72 times in WorldCat.

(Poster for People Will Talk, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

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