Arrowsmith (1931)

108 mins | Drama | 26 December 1931

Director:

John Ford

Producer:

Samuel Goldwyn

Cinematographer:

Ray June

Editor:

Hugh Bennett

Production Company:

Howard Productions, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

According to information contained in the MPAA/PCA file on the film in the AMPAS Library, the picture was approved in Nov 1931 without eliminations, even though the words "hell" and "damn" were included in the dialogue. A memo in the file from Col. Jason Joy of the Hays Office notes that the word "hell" was allowed three times in the picture because of its proper use within context, even though its use was "probably" in violation of the letter of the Production Code. Exception was taken to the line "It's hell on bugs," but the line was allowed. The picture was issued a certificate for re-issue on 5 Jul 1935. According to a letter in the file dated 24 Jul 1945, written by PCA director Joseph I. Breen to Gordon S. White of the New York office, Breen advised that when the certificate was issued in 1935, the words "hell" and "damn" were not in the print submitted by Samuel Goldwyn. Some time in Jul 1945, Nat Sanders of English Films, Inc. had complained to White that he had recently seen the film in New York at the Criterion Theatre and it "had more hells than I have hairs on the top of my head." Breen explained in the letter that the Criterion had most likely gotten an original print of the film and that Goldwyn had not recently re-issued the picture. He also indicated that Sanders, who represented English films which frequently had words such as "damn" and "hell" removed before certification, was probably annoyed at finding those words in an American film.
       Arrowsmith , which was based on Sinclair ... More Less

According to information contained in the MPAA/PCA file on the film in the AMPAS Library, the picture was approved in Nov 1931 without eliminations, even though the words "hell" and "damn" were included in the dialogue. A memo in the file from Col. Jason Joy of the Hays Office notes that the word "hell" was allowed three times in the picture because of its proper use within context, even though its use was "probably" in violation of the letter of the Production Code. Exception was taken to the line "It's hell on bugs," but the line was allowed. The picture was issued a certificate for re-issue on 5 Jul 1935. According to a letter in the file dated 24 Jul 1945, written by PCA director Joseph I. Breen to Gordon S. White of the New York office, Breen advised that when the certificate was issued in 1935, the words "hell" and "damn" were not in the print submitted by Samuel Goldwyn. Some time in Jul 1945, Nat Sanders of English Films, Inc. had complained to White that he had recently seen the film in New York at the Criterion Theatre and it "had more hells than I have hairs on the top of my head." Breen explained in the letter that the Criterion had most likely gotten an original print of the film and that Goldwyn had not recently re-issued the picture. He also indicated that Sanders, who represented English films which frequently had words such as "damn" and "hell" removed before certification, was probably annoyed at finding those words in an American film.
       Arrowsmith , which was based on Sinclair Lewis' Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel of the same name, received several Academy Award nominations, one for Sidney Howard for Best Adapted Screenplay, one for Ray June for Best Photography, one for Richard Day for Best Art Direction, and one for the film for Best Picture. Modern sources mention that H. Bruce Humberstone assisted John Ford on the picture and that Ford worked off the production briefly when he and Humbertsone had an argument about staging one of the scenes and producer Samuel Goldwyn sided with Humberstone. Modern sources also include James Marcus, Sydney de Grey, Pat Somerset, Eric Wilton, Erville Alderson, George Humbert, Walter Downing and Bobby Watson in the cast. Spencer Tracy and Fay Wray portrayed "Martin" and "Leora Arrowsmith" on a Lux Radio Theatre Broadcast on 25 Oct 1937. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
13 Dec 31
p. 10.
HF
5 Sep 31
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 32
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
21 Nov 31
pp. 48-49.
New York Times
8 Dec 31
p. 36.
New York Times
13 Dec 31
p. 6.
Variety
15 Dec 31
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Ford Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Settings
FILM EDITOR
Film edited by
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Sd tech
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis (New York, 1925).
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 December 1931
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 December 1931
Production Date:
began early September 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Samuel Goldwyn, Inc.
Copyright Date:
16 January 1932
Copyright Number:
LP2812
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
108
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

In a prologue, a young pioneer women drives a wagon West. In the main story, her great grandson, Martin Arrowsmith, is inspired by her pioneering spirit to become a medical student. As a young doctor, he desires to become a researcher, but his marriage to nurse Leora Tozer prevents his attaining the position he would like with Professor Max Gottlieb. Instead he goes with Lee to her small home town in Minnesota, where he becomes a country doctor. Despite the dull routine, Martin's brilliant mind keeps working and in a few years he discovers a serum to cure cows of Black Leg disease. His findings eventually lead to a position with Dr. Gottlieb at the McGurk Institute in New York. Lee has had a miscarriage and devotes herself to Martin, although his research keeps him away for long hours. When Gustav Sondelius, a scientist and friend of Martin and Dr. Gottlieb's announces that plague is raging in the West Indies, Martin goes to test a new serum he has developed, promising Gottlieb that he will only innoculate half of his patients in order to test his results scientifically. Lee accompanies him, despite Martin's concerns. On the island, the white citizens will not submit to his tests, but the natives, led by a Howard University-educated black doctor named Oliver Marchand, willingly cooperate with him. Martin must go to one of the other islands, leaving Lee alone. There he meets plantation-owner Lanyon and his daughter Joyce, who help him. After Sondelius dies from plague, Martin and Joyce go to bed together. The next morning he recives a call from Marchand, who has ... +


In a prologue, a young pioneer women drives a wagon West. In the main story, her great grandson, Martin Arrowsmith, is inspired by her pioneering spirit to become a medical student. As a young doctor, he desires to become a researcher, but his marriage to nurse Leora Tozer prevents his attaining the position he would like with Professor Max Gottlieb. Instead he goes with Lee to her small home town in Minnesota, where he becomes a country doctor. Despite the dull routine, Martin's brilliant mind keeps working and in a few years he discovers a serum to cure cows of Black Leg disease. His findings eventually lead to a position with Dr. Gottlieb at the McGurk Institute in New York. Lee has had a miscarriage and devotes herself to Martin, although his research keeps him away for long hours. When Gustav Sondelius, a scientist and friend of Martin and Dr. Gottlieb's announces that plague is raging in the West Indies, Martin goes to test a new serum he has developed, promising Gottlieb that he will only innoculate half of his patients in order to test his results scientifically. Lee accompanies him, despite Martin's concerns. On the island, the white citizens will not submit to his tests, but the natives, led by a Howard University-educated black doctor named Oliver Marchand, willingly cooperate with him. Martin must go to one of the other islands, leaving Lee alone. There he meets plantation-owner Lanyon and his daughter Joyce, who help him. After Sondelius dies from plague, Martin and Joyce go to bed together. The next morning he recives a call from Marchand, who has returned to the main island. When Marchand collapses from the plague, Martin hurries home, worried that Lee may also be infected. When he returns, she is dead, having contracted the disease through a cigarette carelessly placed in Martin's lab. Distraught, Martin drunkenly allows everyone to have the serum, destroying his scientific research. When he returns to New York, Gottlieb suffers a stroke and Martin decides to go with his co-worker, Terry Wickett, to Vermont to open a lab. Joyce offers her friendship to him, but he leaves, wanting to re-new his committment to pure research with Lee spiritually with him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.