“You’re quite a noble character, aren’t you?”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
His “rescue” of an unwed, pregnant, suicidal woman is initially posited as a deceptive maneuver to save her life, but we soon realize he’s simply allowing powerful emotions to drive his sense of justice and righteous living (perhaps much like Jesus?). Dr. Praetorius is so superior to slimy leches like jealous Professor Elwell (Cronyn) that it’s clear he’ll win the day; the entire film basically plays out how this triumph occurs.
Unfortunately, Grant wasn’t the best choice for this most unusual of romantic male leads; it’s much easier to imagine a more nuanced actor — like Spencer Tracy — investing the character with inspired depth. Crain is fine as Grant’s loyal wife, but never really transcends what’s required of her in the role. The supporting roles are more successful: Cronyn is spot-on as weaselly Elwell:
… Currie gives a memorable performance as the mysterious lumbering “Shunderson”:
… and Margaret Hamilton is nicely typecast as a suspicious shrew brought in during the first scene to bolster Cronyn’s growing case against Grant and Currie.
Ultimately, this odd title remains a mixed bag: intriguing and different enough to be worth checking out, but not entirely successful.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: