WriterSidney Howard, Paul de Kruif, Edward Chodorov Release dateMay 27, 1938 (1938-05-27) CastRobert Montgomery (John O'Hara), Virginia Bruce (Frances Blake), Lewis Stone (Maj. Walter Reed), Andy Devine (Charlie Spill), Henry Hull (Dr. Jesse Lazear), Charles Coburn (Dr. Finlay) Similar moviesRelated George B Seitz movies
Yellow Jack refers to a 1934 play (see Yellow Jack (play) and a 1938 Hollywood movie by the same name. Both were co-written by Sidney Howard and Paul de Kruif (the former a Pulitzer- and Oscar-winning playwright and screenwriter; the latter a well-known microbiologist and author).
The plot line follows the events of the well-known "Walter Reed Boards," in which Major Walter Reed of the U.S. Army worked to diagnose and treat yellow fever (called “yellow jack”) in Cuba in 1898-1900. The U.S. Army Medical Corps doctors studied the theory by the Cuban doctor Carlos Finlay that the disease was caused by bites of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, a concept which had been ridiculed. The dramas portrayed the soldiers who volunteered to be human "guinea pigs" by allowing themselves to be bitten and contract the deadly disease, for which no cure was then known. (See History of yellow fever).
James Stewart had his first dramatic role in the 1934 Broadway play. The experience led him to stay with acting and he first entered movies later that year.
The play and screenplay were adapted for television by Celanese Theatre (1952) and Producers' Showcase (1955), in episodes titled Yellow Jack.
Yellow Jack was presented on Philip Morris Playhouse September 5, 1941.