DirectorJohn Ford Music directorAlfred Newman Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateDecember 26, 1931 (1931-12-26) WriterSinclair Lewis (based upon the novel by), Sidney Howard (adapted for the screen by) CastRonald Colman (Dr. Martin Arrowsmith), Helen Hayes (Leora Arrowsmith), A.E. Anson (Professor Max Gottlieb), Clarence Brooks (Oliver Marchand), Alec B. Francis (Twyford), Bert Roach (Bert Tozer) Similar moviesDawn of the Planet of the Apes, Infini, The Amazing Spider-Man, Outbreak, Megamind, 28 Weeks Later
TaglineHE FOUGHT FOR MAN... and lost a woman!
Myrna loy arrowsmith 1931
In this adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Sinclair Lewis, Dr. Martin Arrowsmith (Ronald Colman) marries nurse Leora Tozer (Helen Hayes) and misses out on a position with the esteemed Prof. Max Gottlieb. When Swedish scientist Gustav Sondelius (Richard Bennett) invites Arrowsmith to help fight an outbreak of the bubonic plague in the West Indies, he must reconcile his desire for prestige and dedication to the scientific method with the needs of real people in pain.
Arrowsmith is a 1931 American Pre-Code film, nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was written by Sidney Howard from the Sinclair Lewis novel Arrowsmith, and directed by John Ford.
Based on Sinclair Lewis's novel "Arrowsmith". A medical researcher is sent to a plague outbreak, where he has to decide priorities for the use of a vaccine.
An idealistic young medical student named Martin Arrowsmith (Ronald Colman) makes a favorable impression on Dr. Max Gottlieb (A. E. Anson). When Arrowsmith graduates, Gottlieb offers him a position as his research assistant, but the young man reluctantly has to turn him down. He has fallen in love with nurse Leora (Helen Hayes), and the salary is not enough to support the couple. Instead, he marries Leora and sets up his medical practice in her rural home town. One day, he develops a serum to cure a fatal cow disease ravaging the nearby herds. Reinvigorated, he decides to join Gottlieb at the McGurk Institute in New York. Meanwhile, Leora miscarries and, to the couples sorrow, is unable to have any more children, so she devotes herself to supporting her husbands mission.
Arrowsmith preview clip
When there is an outbreak of bubonic plague in the West Indies, Gottlieb believes that Arrowsmiths experience with his cow serum would prove invaluable. Eager to help mankind, Arrowsmith goes to a Caribbean island to work with scientist Gustav Sondelius (Richard Bennett) in his struggle to save the natives. Leora accompanies him, despite his fear for her safety. Sir Robert Fairland (Lumsden Hare) refuses to let Arrowsmith perform an experiment by only treating half of the people with the serum in order to test the effectiveness of the cure. Howard University-educated Dr. Oliver Marchand (Clarence Brooks) offers them the people of his island as test subjects. Among the participants in the experiment is Mrs. Joyce Lanyon (Myrna Loy), a New Yorker stranded on the island who is attracted to Arrowsmith.
Sondelius contracts the disease; just before he dies, he pleads with Arrowsmith to save as many lives as possible by abandoning the scientific protocol. The young doctor becomes worried about his wife. He goes to see her, but too late; she too has succumbed to the plague. Arrowsmith then decides to give the serum to all, saving many lives. On Arrowsmiths return to New York, Dr. Tubbs (Claude King), the head of the McGurk Institute, is eager to bask in his reflected glory. However, when Gottlieb suffers a stroke during the reception in Arrowsmiths honor, Arrowsmith decides to quit the institute and join his friend and co-worker Terry Wickett (Russell Hopton) in a makeshift lab doing real research.
Cast (in credits order)
Ronald Colman as Dr Martin Arrowsmith
Helen Hayes as Leora Arrowsmith
Richard Bennett as Gustav Sondelius
A.E. Anson as Professor Max Gottlieb
Clarence Brooks as Oliver Marchand
Alec B. Francis as Twyford
Bert Roach as Bert Tozer
Myrna Loy as Mrs Joyce Lanyon
Russell Hopton as Terry Wickett
David Landau as State Veterinarian
Lumsden Hare as Sir Robert Fairland – Governor
The film is largely faithful to the novel, but completely omits all mention of Arrowsmiths wealthy, self-centered second wife. Myrna Loy has only a few scenes with Colman, and their relationship is undeveloped. According to Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies, Helen Hayes noted that various scenes were dropped from the script without explanation. It turns out that Samuel Goldwyn had hired director John Ford on condition that he not drink during the production. As a result (according to Osborne), Ford sped up the filming as much as he could.
Samuel Goldwyn produced Arrowsmith and Dodsworth. Sinclair Lewis wrote the story for Arrowsmith and Ann Vickers. Helen Hayes appears in Arrowsmith and The Sin of Madelon Claudet. Cass Timberlane (1947). Samuel Goldwyn produced Arrowsmith and Cynara.
The film was a financial and critical success, garnering four Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography.