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The Courageous Dr. Christian (1940)

Not Rated | | Drama | 5 April 1940 (USA)
A doctor fights an epidemic that breaks out in the poor section of town and tries to get the rest of the town to help out.


Bernard Vorhaus

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Hersholt ... Dr. Paul Christian
Dorothy Lovett ... Judy Price
Robert Baldwin ... Roy Davis
Tom Neal ... Dave Williams
Maude Eburne ... Mrs. Hastings
Vera Lewis ... Mrs. Norma Stewart
George Meader George Meader ... Harry Johnson
Bobby Larson ... Jack Williams
Bobette Bentley Bobette Bentley ... Ruth Williams
Reginald Barlow Reginald Barlow ... Sam
Jacqueline De River Jacqueline De River ... Martha
Edmund Glover ... Tommy Wood
Mary Davenport Mary Davenport ... Jane Wood
Earle Ross Earle Ross ... Grandpa
Sylvia Andrew Sylvia Andrew ... Mrs. Sam


A doctor fights an epidemic that breaks out in the poor section of town and tries to get the rest of the town to help out.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

5 April 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Corajoso Doutor Christian See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


Followed by Remedy for Riches (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

Way overly-dramatic...but still quite enjoyable.
19 February 2010 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is one of six Dr. Christian films made by RKO starring the fine character actor, Jean Hersholt. In all of the films, Christian is a bit of a crusader, though this one seems to be the most overtly preachy. In many ways, the film is overly dramatic and hard to believe, but the acting and good intentions of the film make it well worth seeing.

The film has to do with "Squatter's Town"--the poor section of town where the sanitation stinks and life is relatively cheap. The rest of the town is rather indifferent to their plight, as they are seen as deserving of their lifestyle. However, instead of just accepting this, Christian decides to try to save some of the folks--including Tom Neal and two kids he's caring for in a condemned shack. He arranges for a nice home for the two little kids and takes Neal into his own home. But he doesn't stop there--as he then crusades for a new housing project to take the place of the squalor. The town, however, isn't particularly concerned and are rather antagonistic to the idea. When an epidemic strikes the poor folks, the townspeople change their minds--and become part of the solution.

The film is very socialist in its stance, though it doesn't just advocate government intervention but a populist approach where people help each other through the goodness of their hearts. It seems a bit over-idealistic, but has a sweet sentiment. Plus, the film manages with all its earnestness to somehow pull it off just fine. A very good B-movie.

By the way, in the film Tom Neal is an incredibly pugnacious and obnoxious person. In real life, he was FAR worse--and his IMDb biography is positively scary. How this Harvard grad destroyed his own career with off-screen violence is a sad story and a case of art imitating life, as he often portrayed thick-headed jerks with a penchant for violence.

By the way, in the drug store scene get a load of the 1940s style pinball machine. If you look carefully, you'll notice something is missing--flippers. They were introduced years later and made the machines a heck of a lot more interesting.

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