One Man's Journey (1933)

70 or 72 mins | Drama | 8 September 1933

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HISTORY

[ Editor's note : One Man's Journey was not viewed prior to the publication of its entry in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40. This entry was revised after a 2007 viewing of the film. ]
The working title of the picture was The Doctor . Within the film, the passage of time is related by close-up shots of diary entries written by "Eli Watt." RKO borrowed Lionel Barrymore and May Robson from M-G-M for the production. Modern sources include Russ Powell, Colin Kenny, Frank Ball, Lucille Ward and Lloyd Ingraham in the cast.
       In 2007, this film, along with five other RKO productions from the 1930s, was broadcast on the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable network, the first public showing of the picture in more than seventy years. For additional information on the TCM broadcast, please consult the entry above for Double Harness . RKO made another adaptation of Katharine Haviland-Taylor's short story in 1938. That film, A Man to Remember , was directed by Garson Kanin and starred Edward Ellis and Anne Shirley (See ... More Less

[ Editor's note : One Man's Journey was not viewed prior to the publication of its entry in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40. This entry was revised after a 2007 viewing of the film. ]
The working title of the picture was The Doctor . Within the film, the passage of time is related by close-up shots of diary entries written by "Eli Watt." RKO borrowed Lionel Barrymore and May Robson from M-G-M for the production. Modern sources include Russ Powell, Colin Kenny, Frank Ball, Lucille Ward and Lloyd Ingraham in the cast.
       In 2007, this film, along with five other RKO productions from the 1930s, was broadcast on the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable network, the first public showing of the picture in more than seventy years. For additional information on the TCM broadcast, please consult the entry above for Double Harness . RKO made another adaptation of Katharine Haviland-Taylor's short story in 1938. That film, A Man to Remember , was directed by Garson Kanin and starred Edward Ellis and Anne Shirley (See Entry). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
1 Sep 1933
p. 8.
HF
10 Jun 1933
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 1933
p. 2.
International Photographer
1 Jul 1933
p. 25
Los Angeles Times
1 Apr 2007
Calendar, p. 24.
Motion Picture Herald
9 Sep 1933
pp. 34-35.
New York Times
1 Sep 1933
p. 15.
Variety
5 Sep 1933
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Pandro S. Berman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
SET DECORATOR
Chief propman
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Chief elec
Chief grip
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Failure" by Katharine Haviland-Taylor in American Magazine (Nov 1932).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Doctor
Release Date:
8 September 1933
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 31 August 1933
Production Date:
began early June 1933
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 August 1933
Copyright Number:
LP4119
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70 or 72
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Dr. Eli Watt, once an ambitious physician with a promising New York practice, returns with his young son Jimmy to his hometown of Willow Springs, widowed and broke. After mortgaging the family house to unsympathetic banker John Radford, Eli sets up practice in Willow Springs and is soon called on to deliver a baby. When the mother dies after giving birth to a girl, the father, McGinnis, accuses Eli of malpractice and refuses to care for the baby. Eli brings home the child, whom he names Letty, and, while tending tirelessly to the medical needs of the highly critical townspeople, who pay him only with home-grown food, rears her as his own. Four years later, a reformed McGinnis begs for the return of his daughter, and against the admonitions of Sarah, his housekeeper, Eli sends Letty home with her natural father. When a smallpox epidemic ravages Willow Springs many years later, Eli singlehandedly curbs the disaster and improves living conditions in the rural New England community. Although commended by the county medical board for his efforts, Eli continues to practice in obscurity, while a now-grown Jimmy prepares to attend medical school in Vienna. Letty, meanwhile, falls in love with Radford's son Bill, who after a night of making love to Letty, is injured in an automobile accident. Eli assists in an operation to save Bill's arm, and his skills come to the attention of Dr. Tillinghast, a respected surgeon from New York. Impressed by Eli's abilities, Tillinghast invites his colleague to work and study with him in the city. Although greatly tempted by the offer, Eli misses his opportunity to go to New ... +


Dr. Eli Watt, once an ambitious physician with a promising New York practice, returns with his young son Jimmy to his hometown of Willow Springs, widowed and broke. After mortgaging the family house to unsympathetic banker John Radford, Eli sets up practice in Willow Springs and is soon called on to deliver a baby. When the mother dies after giving birth to a girl, the father, McGinnis, accuses Eli of malpractice and refuses to care for the baby. Eli brings home the child, whom he names Letty, and, while tending tirelessly to the medical needs of the highly critical townspeople, who pay him only with home-grown food, rears her as his own. Four years later, a reformed McGinnis begs for the return of his daughter, and against the admonitions of Sarah, his housekeeper, Eli sends Letty home with her natural father. When a smallpox epidemic ravages Willow Springs many years later, Eli singlehandedly curbs the disaster and improves living conditions in the rural New England community. Although commended by the county medical board for his efforts, Eli continues to practice in obscurity, while a now-grown Jimmy prepares to attend medical school in Vienna. Letty, meanwhile, falls in love with Radford's son Bill, who after a night of making love to Letty, is injured in an automobile accident. Eli assists in an operation to save Bill's arm, and his skills come to the attention of Dr. Tillinghast, a respected surgeon from New York. Impressed by Eli's abilities, Tillinghast invites his colleague to work and study with him in the city. Although greatly tempted by the offer, Eli misses his opportunity to go to New York when, instead of catching the train, he chooses to help a pregnant Letty, who has attempted suicide because Bill's father has denounced her as a gold digger. Six years later, Jimmy has earned his medical degree and Letty and Bill have married and had another child while Eli has remained the country doctor. Devastated by the realization that Bill is involved with another woman, Letty refuses to fight for her life after a difficult third pregnancy. Sensing the couple's troubles, Eli saves Letty's life once more by gently reuniting the family at Letty's bedside and inspiring her to fight. After being honored at a prestigious banquet, Eli then saves Jimmy's engagement to Joan Stockton by showing his ambitious, compassionless son the link between human kindness and effective medicine. +

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

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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.