A Man to Remember (1938)

79-80 mins | Drama | 14 October 1938

Director:

Garson Kanin

Writer:

Dalton Trumbo

Producer:

Robert Sisk

Cinematographer:

J. Roy Hunt

Editor:

Jack Hively

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

[ Editor's note : A Man to Remember 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 A Man to Remember was Country Doctor . Most of the film's action takes place in a series of flashbacks related while "George Sykes," "Homer Ramsey" and "Jode Harkness" are sitting in the office of attorney "Clyde Perkins." Each flashback begins with a close-up shot of a bill or promissory note found among the papers of "Dr. John Abbott."
       A Man to Remember was broadcast on the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable station in Apr 2007, the first time it had been shown in almost seventy years. The print viewed was from a Dutch archive, in English, but with Dutch subtitles. The credits above were taken from a cutting continuity deposited in U.S. copyright records. The picture was one of six RKO films for which the rights had reverted to former RKO producer Merian C. Cooper. For additional information on the restoration and rights issues, please consult the entry above for the 1933 RKO film Double Harness .
       A Man to Remember marked the first film of noted writer-director Garson Kanin(1912--1999). Modern sources state that A Man to Remember was made in fifteen days for $118,000. Katharine Haviland-Taylor's story was first made by RKO in 1933 as One Man's Journey (See ... More Less

[ Editor's note : A Man to Remember 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 A Man to Remember was Country Doctor . Most of the film's action takes place in a series of flashbacks related while "George Sykes," "Homer Ramsey" and "Jode Harkness" are sitting in the office of attorney "Clyde Perkins." Each flashback begins with a close-up shot of a bill or promissory note found among the papers of "Dr. John Abbott."
       A Man to Remember was broadcast on the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable station in Apr 2007, the first time it had been shown in almost seventy years. The print viewed was from a Dutch archive, in English, but with Dutch subtitles. The credits above were taken from a cutting continuity deposited in U.S. copyright records. The picture was one of six RKO films for which the rights had reverted to former RKO producer Merian C. Cooper. For additional information on the restoration and rights issues, please consult the entry above for the 1933 RKO film Double Harness .
       A Man to Remember marked the first film of noted writer-director Garson Kanin(1912--1999). Modern sources state that A Man to Remember was made in fifteen days for $118,000. Katharine Haviland-Taylor's story was first made by RKO in 1933 as One Man's Journey (See Entry). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Sep 1938
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Oct 1938
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 1938
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 1938
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 1938
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1938
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
1 Apr 2007
Calendar, p. 24.
Motion Picture Daily
3 Oct 1938
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Sep 1938
p. 44.
Motion Picture Herald
1 Oct 1938
p. 39.
New York Times
7 Nov 1938
p. 14.
Variety
5 Oct 1938
p. 14.
Variety
9 Nov 1938
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod exec
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Montage
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Failure" by Katharine Haviland-Taylor in American Magazine (Nov 1932).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Country Doctor
Release Date:
14 October 1938
Production Date:
14093
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 October 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8398
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
79-80
Length(in feet):
7,142
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4558
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

During the elaborate, public funeral of Doctor "Doc" John Abbott, inside the office of attorney Clyde Perkins, three of his respected neighbors in the small Midwestern town of Westport--banker George Sykes, newspaperman Jode Harkness and store owner Homer Ramsey--open Doc's strong box, in which they hope to find money long owed to them. As they sort through the various receipts and bills in the box, Doc's career in Westport is remembered by the group: On 16 Jun 1919, a broke and widowed Doc returns to his home town with his young son Dick. Although a seventeen-year medical veteran, Doc has difficulty borrowing money from Sykes and is forced to assume his practice on the poor side of town. Soon after opening his practice, Doc is called to deliver a baby, whose mother dies during childbirth. Devastated by his wife's death, the baby's embittered father, Tom Johnson, refuses to care for his newborn and leaves her on Doc's doorstep. Many years later, the girl, whom Doc has named Jean, lives happily with Dick and her foster father, who in spite of his own debts, accepts food and animals as payment from his poor but grateful patients. After Dick graduates from college, Doc appeals to the county Board of Supervisors, which is headed by Sykes, Harkness and Ramsey, for money to build a county hospital. Unimpressed by Doc's arguments about the importance of a public health program, the board rejects his request. Later, however, the now grown Jean is shot accidentally by Sykes's irresponsible, inebriated son Howard, and on the promise that he will not report Howard to the police, Doc pressures Sykes into building the ... +


During the elaborate, public funeral of Doctor "Doc" John Abbott, inside the office of attorney Clyde Perkins, three of his respected neighbors in the small Midwestern town of Westport--banker George Sykes, newspaperman Jode Harkness and store owner Homer Ramsey--open Doc's strong box, in which they hope to find money long owed to them. As they sort through the various receipts and bills in the box, Doc's career in Westport is remembered by the group: On 16 Jun 1919, a broke and widowed Doc returns to his home town with his young son Dick. Although a seventeen-year medical veteran, Doc has difficulty borrowing money from Sykes and is forced to assume his practice on the poor side of town. Soon after opening his practice, Doc is called to deliver a baby, whose mother dies during childbirth. Devastated by his wife's death, the baby's embittered father, Tom Johnson, refuses to care for his newborn and leaves her on Doc's doorstep. Many years later, the girl, whom Doc has named Jean, lives happily with Dick and her foster father, who in spite of his own debts, accepts food and animals as payment from his poor but grateful patients. After Dick graduates from college, Doc appeals to the county Board of Supervisors, which is headed by Sykes, Harkness and Ramsey, for money to build a county hospital. Unimpressed by Doc's arguments about the importance of a public health program, the board rejects his request. Later, however, the now grown Jean is shot accidentally by Sykes's irresponsible, inebriated son Howard, and on the promise that he will not report Howard to the police, Doc pressures Sykes into building the hospital. Although Doc is responsible for the needed institution, he quietly allows Homer to receive the public adulation, then is barred from working there by a calculated regulation stipulating that only doctors who have had graduate study within the last twenty years may register as physicians. Three years later, Dick returns to Westport with a degree in neurology from a prestigious French institution. To Doc's disappointment, Dick, who admits that he enjoys money for money's sake, chooses to become partners with Dr. Robinson, Doc's more prosperous competitor. When Dick then announces that he is considering a job offer in New York, his seemingly callous attitude toward his father infuriates Jean, who worries about Doc's weak heart. One night, Doc is visited by a regenerated Johnson, whom he introduces to Jean. After Jean, who is merely polite to Johnson, goes to bed, he thanks Doc for caring for the girl and gives him $3,000 as payment. Doc then applies for admission to the same Parisian school that Dick attended. While waiting for his reply, Doc treats four children who are exhibiting symptoms of infantile paralysis. To avoid a possible polio epidemic, Doc tries to have a county fair postponed but is ridiculed as an alarmist by Sykes, Ramsey and Harkness. Determined to alert the community, Doc, at his own expense, distributes warning notices throughout the town and advises people to come in for throat spray injections. His actions outrage the county medical association, who in spite of Dick's impassioned defense of Doc, vote to suspend him. Immediately after the vote, however, a late-arriving board member informs the association that dozens of polio cases have been reported in his town. Soon cases of polio spread throughout the county, except Westport, where the disease was confined to Doc's original four cases. Although rejected by the French school, Doc is elected president of the association by acclamation and is honored by the entire town, who gather outside his house and declare him a hero. Dick, who has fallen mutually in love with Jean, then tells his father that he wants to stay in Westport and be his partner. Content at last, Doc dies quietly of a heart attack just after Jean and Dick leave to attend a patient. As Doc's funeral procession concludes, a remorseful Sykes, Ramsey and Harkness collect their debt money from Doc's strong box and conclude that the old country doctor was indeed a fine man. +

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.