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A wheelchair-bound doctor tries to prove a convicted killer's innocence.
One year after her former fiancé, Roy Todwell, was sentenced to life in prison for murder, socialite Marcia Bradburn goes to visit Dr. Leonard Gillespie. The wheelchair-bound Gillespie, who lives and works at New York City's Blair General Hospital, testified unsuccessfully at Roy's trial, hoping to convince the jury that Roy was insane and should be put in a sanitarium. Marcia wants to accept the proposal of Sergeant Patrick J. Orisin, but is afraid that if Roy reads about it in the newspaper, he will react violently. Gillespie tells her not to worry, but after she leaves, he telephones Warden Kenneson at the penitentiary where Roy is incarcerated and says that he will be flying in for a visit. Gillespie is currently searching for a new chief assistant and encourages an intense rivalry between the two candidates, Randall "Red" Adams who wants to join the Army medical corps, and Brooklyn-born Chinese American Lee Wong How, who is learning Chinese in the hope of going to China. One of Lee's patients is Alvin F. Peterson, a young man who lost both legs in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Lee tells Peterson that a special operation to put on artificial limbs is going to be performed on him. The uninterested and embittered Peterson has been burning unread letters from his girl friend, and Gillespie advises Lee and head nurse Molly Byrd never to leave the extremely depressed Peterson alone. On Friday evening, after interrupting Red's romantic date with wealthy social services worker Ruth Edly, Gillespie takes Red with him to the penitentiary, in the hope of convincing the warden to transfer Roy to a sanitarium. The warden lets Gillespie go to the prison hospital, where Roy works, and Roy cheerfully tells him that he remembers nothing of his earlier violent episodes. Despite Roy's demeanor, Gillespie is convinced that the young man is still dangerously insane. Back at the hospital, Gillespie and Lee try to get Peterson to walk on his new limbs, but he refuses to cooperate. Gillespie, who has gotten hold of a letter from Peterson's girl friend, gives him the letter, which confirms that she still loves him. Just then, chief administrator Dr. Walter Carew announces that there is a terrible infection in the children's post-surgical ward, and Gillespie assigns Red and Lee to the case. The doctors use every means at their disposal to reduce the girls' fevers, and Lee and Red even resort to hours of flapping ice-cold sheets on one child, Margaret, who is near death. Their joint effort makes them realize that they are more friends than rivals. One of the nurses, Miss Dodd, dies from the same fever, but Margaret eventually recovers. A short time later, Marcia brings Gillespie a letter that Roy sent to her, and Gillespie immediately travels to the penitentiary. Meanwhile, Lee brings a visitor to Peterson, Mr. Coleman, a wealthy friend of Gillespie who secretly paid for Peterson's operation. When Coleman reveals that he lost his legs in an accident but has gotten by very well with artificial limbs, Peterson is inspired and determines to learn to walk. At the penitentiary, Gillespie argues Roy's case in front of the prison board, explaining that he is a "timebomb." A board member then points out that Roy, whose violence had supposedly been triggered by shrill noises, has not reacted at all to the daily prison whistles and therefore must be faking. Just at that moment, however, as Roy reads about Marcia's engagement, the noon whistle blows and his mind snaps. With two accomplices, Roy goes to the warden's office with smuggled guns and kills a board member. The three convicts then exchange clothes with some board members, take them hostage and leave through the prison gate. After the convicts escape, the police slowly approach the deserted cabin in which they are hiding and Gillespie calls out to Roy, telling him that he is still insane because he never remembers his crimes. After taking the other prisoners' guns, Roy leaves the shack and shoots wildly, but is killed by the police. Some weeks later, Red goes to Ruth's apartment for their long-awaited date, but finds that Gillespie, Lee and other hospital staff members are there, along with the surviving fever patients, Marcia, her new husband and a now ambulatory Peterson.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1943||Production Date:||
Ted 16mm #36 218-1
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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User Ratings & Review
I liked the film
I turned the TV on this morning and watched most of this film. It quickly captured my attention. The Gillespie character reminded me of a man in my life...
Great Cast..not a great movie
I'll bet Van Johnson, Barrymore, Lundigan & even the smaller roled people wished they had never signed up for this melodrama.At first,...
Margaret Steals It
Tiny Margaret O'Brien's performance as a little girl fighting a deadly infection surpasses all others, including Barrymore himself, in this...