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A woman tries to convince the medical profession to save her husband despite his lack of character.
--In late 19th century London, eminent psychiatrist Sir Patrick Cullen pays a call on his close friend and associate, the principled Colenso Ridgeon to congratulate him on his development of a treatment to cure consumption. The publicity over Colenso's subsequent knighthood attracts the attention of Jennifer Dubedat, wife of a talented but impetuous young artist, Louis, who suffers from tuberculosis. Jennifer visits Colenso on behalf of her husband and although taken by Jennifer's youth and bohemian attitude, Colenso states that his program is restricted in size and currently full. Jennifer then shows Colenso several of Louis' sketches to demonstrate her husband's brilliance and potential. Colenso is deeply impressed by the work and asks to buy the sketches, but Jennifer offers to give them to the doctor if he will treat Louis. Colenso insists that he would have to remove a patient from his program to make room for Louis and tells Jennifer that she must prove that her husband is worth saving. After driving Jennifer to her home, Colenso invites her to a private dinner given to celebrate his knighthood and asks her to bring Louis. Pleased, Jennifer agrees. The following evening, Jennifer and the brash Louis join Colenso at the dinner given by fellow-physicians Sir Patrick, blood specialist Sir Ralph Bloomfield-Bonington, surgeon Cutler Walpole and modest general practitioner Dr. Blenkinsop, who also suffers from tuberculosis. The doctors are charmed by Jennifer and uncertain what to make of Louis' careless manner. After the young couple depart, Blenkinsop admits with some embarrassment that Louis borrowed the last of his change, leaving him without cab fare. The men are interrupted by maid Minnie Tinwell, who asks after Louis. When Cutler identifies Jennifer as Louis' wife, Minnie stuns them by revealing that she is Louis' wife and has a license to prove it. While the men wonder at this declaration, Cutler realizes that Louis has kept his gold cigarette case. As they leave the dinner hall, Colenso confesses to Sir Patrick that he is in a quandary over what to do about Louis, who is so clearly lacking in character. Colenso reflects on whether he should treat the decent but talentless Blenkinsop or the gifted but immoral Louis. Colenso admits that he is attracted to Jennifer and hopes to marry her after Louis' death, but does not want this to sway his decision. The following morning when a patient in his program dies, Colenso informs his assistant that he will name a replacement the next day. Later that afternoon, Colenso goes to Louis and Jennifer's apartment where he awaits his associates to join his consultation. After Jennifer leaves her husband and Colenso alone, Louis describes the difficulties of being talented but poor, then asks Colenso for a loan. Taken aback, Colenso refuses, then grows angry when Louis implies that Jennifer will suffer if he cannot provide for her. When Colenso again refuses Louis, the painter asks if he can supply him with commissions, then suggests that Colenso certainly must know many of his patients' secrets, which they would pay to keep confidential. Colenso, outraged, and Louis are interrupted by the arrival of Sir Patrick, Sir Ralph and Cutler. Colenso immediately relates Louis' black-mailing proposal and the men are amazed at Louis' audacity. Cutler asks for the return of his gold case and Louis admits he pawned it. Incensed by Louis' reckless manner, Colenso demands repayment of Blenkinsop's loan, forcing Louis to borrow the amount from Cutler. When the men press Louis about Minnie, he admits they were married, but then berates them for their indignation when he impishly implies that he is not married to Jennifer. Louis then assures them that he and Jennifer are married and questions the doctors' rigid morality and haste to believe the worst. Louis explains that he married Minnie and they remained together for a deliriously happy three weeks until their money ran out, then they mutually decided to return to their respective jobs. Challenged by Colenso about whether he has been honest with Jennifer, Louis acknowledges that he has not informed her about Minnie as it would only hurt her and shatter her happiness. When the men remain aghast, Louis again accuses them of narrow, intellectualized morality. The doctors then announce that after reviewing Louis' medical file they conclude that he has six months to live. Colenso declares he will do nothing for Louis and Sir Ralph concurs. Cutler, however, offers to operate, but is startled when Louis demands to know how much Cutler will pay him for removing a body part, which he deems valuable. Amused, Sir Ralph admits that most of his patients are also scoundrels and offers to take Louis' case. Jennifer returns and is startled to learn that Sir Ralph will be treating Louis. Late that night, Jennifer goes to see Colenso to demand to know why he has refused Louis. Admitting she has no confidence in Sir Ralph, Jennifer accuses Colenso of resenting Louis' genius. When Colenso informs Jennifer that he has decided to treat Blenkinsop, she is dismayed that he should choose a foolish man over a brilliant one. Jennifer admits that Louis has a number of personal faults, but insists that they are overshadowed by his unique talents. Jennifer then confides that her life's dream has been to nurture a genius to realize his full potential. Touched, Colenso tells Jennifer that in order to preserve her romantic notions, she must trust him. Jennifer agrees and Colenso declares that Louis must remain under Sir Ralph's care. Three months later, Sir Patrick visits Colenso to report that Louis is near death from galloping consumption. The men hurry to the Dubedats' studio, joining Sir Ralph and Cutler. The weakened Louis tells Jennifer that upon his death she should not insult the joy of their marriage by wallowing in grief. He instructs her to reflect their happiness by remaining beautiful and re-marrying promptly. After Louis dies, Jennifer thanks all the doctors, save Colenso whom she rebuffs, claiming he was never a friend to Louis. After a trip to Brittany, Jennifer returns to the studio to sell Louis' work to an interested art dealer. Blenkinsop drops by to apologize, insisting that he had no idea that Colenso had chosen to treat him over Louis. Some weeks later, Colenso attends the gallery opening of Louis' works and runs into Jennifer. He apologizes for thinking poorly of Louis, but refuses to admit his decision was wrong. When Colenso asks to buy a painting of Jennifer by Louis, she refuses, revealing that her new husband has purchased it for her. Colenso is shocked, but Jennifer reminds him that she is fulfilling Louis' decree to remain beautiful and happy.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 17 Dec 1958|
|Release Date:||1959||Production Date:||
An Anatole de Grunwald-Anthony Asquith Film
|Color/B&W:||Color (Metrocolor)||Distributions Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Comet Film Productions, Ltd., Anatole de Grunwald Productions, Ltd.|
|Duration(mins):||98-99||Country:||Great Britain and United States|
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Witty Filmic Shavian Experience
This film is engaging, witty, beautifully-designed and costumed, and luxuriates in turn of the century elegance. The film is filled with eccentric and...