Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 1944. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Preston Sturges, based on the book The Triumph Over Pain by Rene Fulop-Miller. Cinematography by Victor Milner. Produced by Preston Sturges. Music by Victor Young. Production Design by Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Stuart Gilmore
Rare misfire from the great Preston Sturges has him tackling a period drama with unsuccessful results. Joel McCrea, badly miscast, plays the dentist who discovers the use of ether as an anesthetic for surgery and attempts to have his breakthrough patented. What he encounters when he looks to succeed in business, like all forward-thinking doctors before him, is a wall of ignorance and greed that pretty much kills him. Told in flashbacks by Betty Field, who is terrible as McCrea’s wife, the film is boring, disjointed and weird, hampered greatly by post-production studio interference that saw it re-edited and delayed in release. Sturges could definitely have done as well in drama as he did in comedy, but in this particular case his talents fail him completely.