directed by John Ford
USA 1931


That Arrowsmith was directed by John Ford is enough to make the film of interest to auterists, and there are Ford leitmotifs, particularly self-sacrifice. Ford focused on heroic physicians several times, including Warner Baxter fighting cholera at Fort Jefferson in The Prisoner of Shark Island and Anne Bancroft fighting cholera in China in his last film, Seven Women (and one might add Jack Warden's physician devotes to Polynesian islanders in Donovan's Reef).

And the source material is interesting. In addition to winning a Pulitzer Prize (which Lewis refused), Arrowsmith was a major component of the Swedish Academy making Lewis the first American to win a Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1930 he accepted that honor). It has its satirical elements, but is primarily a tribute to medical research (by the son of a small-town physician). I read the novel in junior high (and in Minnesota), so am not going to make the usual "the book is better" claim. I know that the whole second marriage was lopped off, but since I did not remember the plague-combating, it seems very likely that the film did the Caribbean interlude better.

Excerpt from Stephen Murray's review at located HERE


Theatrical Release: December 7th, 1931 - USA

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DVD Review: MGM - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution MGM - Region 1- NTSC
Runtime 1:38:54 
Video 1:33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.32 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: MGM Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none

DVD Release Date:
March 8th, 2005
Keep Case
Chapters: 16




This image is a little inconsistent. At times it shows great sharpness and detail, but at other times can look quite hazy, show minor damage and appear over-contrasted. Generally I would say it is quite strong with some film grain peeking through. MGM is maintaining their precedent with yellow subtitles and no extra features. Surely a John  Ford film would merit some!

Hard to say no to this price.

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution MGM - Region 1- NTSC


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