Dr. Socrates

Last updated
Dr. Socrates
Directed by William Dieterle
Produced byRobert Lord
Written by Robert Lord (screenplay)
Mary C. McCall, Jr. (adaptation)
Based on"Dr. Socrates"
1935 story in Collier's
by W. R. Burnett
Starring Paul Muni
Ann Dvorak
Barton MacLane
Music by Bernhard Kaun
Heinz Roemheld
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Edited by Ralph Dawson
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • October 19, 1935 (1935-10-19)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States

Dr. Socrates is a 1935 crime film starring Paul Muni as a doctor forced to treat a wounded gangster, played by Barton MacLane.



The death of his fiancée in a car crash so unnerves top surgeon Dr. Lee Cardwell that he moves to a rural community and becomes a general practitioner, but he attracts few patients. The local doctor calls him Dr. Socrates because he always has his head in a book of classics.

Bank robber Red Bastian comes to him after he is shot in the arm during his latest caper. Lee treats Red, but is unwillingly to accept payment. Red, however, makes him take a $100 bill for his trouble.

Later on, while on his way to another bank job, Red picks up hitchhiker Josephine Gray. While Red's gang is busy robbing the bank, Josephine tries to run away, but gets shot. She is treated by Dr. Socrates. At first, the police think that she is a gang "moll", but she is cleared and recuperates at the doctor's home.

Red and his gang kidnap her and take her to their hideout, which the doctor had visited earlier on a medical call. He tells the police where to find the gang, but asks that they give him a chance to get Josephine safely away. He convinces the gang members that they need to be inoculated against an outbreak of typhoid fever, but what he really gives them is a knockout drug. He takes care of Red himself. Lee is a hero, and even the local doctor says nice things about him.


Critical reception

Writing for The Spectator in 1936, Graham Greene gave the film a poor review, dismissing it as "a third-rate gangster film". Despite comparing Paul Muni's performance to personality performers like Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford, Greene concludes that his effort in Dr Socrates "is not one of Muni's successful films". Whereas the film should have been exciting, all that the film could conjure up was funniness. [1]

Related Research Articles

Paul Muni Austrian-born American stage and film actor

Paul Muni was an Austro-Hungarian-born American stage and film actor who grew up in Chicago. Muni was a five-time Academy Award nominee, with one win. He started his acting career in the Yiddish theater. During the 1930s, he was considered one of the most prestigious actors at the Warner Bros. studio, and was given the rare privilege of choosing which parts he wanted.

<i>The Story of Louis Pasteur</i> 1936 film by William Dieterle

The Story of Louis Pasteur is a 1936 American black-and-white biographical film from Warner Bros., produced by Henry Blanke, directed by William Dieterle, that stars Josephine Hutchinson, Anita Louise and Donald Woods, and Paul Muni as the renowned scientist who developed major advances in microbiology, which revolutionized agriculture and medicine. The film's screenplay—which tells a highly fictionalized version of Pasteur’s life—was written by Pierre Collings and Sheridan Gibney, and Edward Chodorov (uncredited).

<i>The Petrified Forest</i> 1936 film by Archie Mayo

The Petrified Forest is a 1936 American film directed by Archie Mayo and based on Robert E. Sherwood's 1935 Broadway drama of the same name. The motion picture stars Leslie Howard, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. The screenplay was written by Delmer Daves and Charles Kenyon, and adaptations were later performed on radio and television. The film is set in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

<i>High Sierra</i> (film) 1941 film by Raoul Walsh

High Sierra is a 1941 heist film and early film noir written by W.R. Burnett and John Huston from the novel by Burnett. The film features Ida Lupino and Humphrey Bogart and was directed by Raoul Walsh with location work shot at Whitney Portal, halfway up Mount Whitney in the Sierra Nevada of California.

<i>Brighton Rock</i> (novel) 1938 novel by Graham Greene

Brighton Rock is a novel by Graham Greene, published in 1938 and later adapted for film in 1947 and 2010. The novel is a murder thriller set in 1930s Brighton. The title refers to a confectionery traditionally sold at seaside resorts, which in the novel is used as a metaphor for the personality of Pinkie, which is the same all the way through. There are links between this novel and Greene's earlier novel A Gun for Sale (1936), because Raven's murder of the gang boss Kite, mentioned in A Gun For Sale, allows Pinkie to take over his gang and thus sets the events of Brighton Rock in motion.

Barton MacLane Actor, playwright, screenwriter

Barton MacLane was an American actor, playwright, and screenwriter. Although he appeared in many classic films from the 1930s through the 1960s, he became best-known for his role as General Martin Peterson on the 1960s NBC television comedy series I Dream of Jeannie, with Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman.

<i>Boys Will Be Boys</i> (1935 film)

Boys Will Be Boys is a 1935 British comedy film directed by William Beaudine which stars Will Hay, Gordon Harker and Jimmy Hanley. The film is set at Narkover School, where headmaster Doctor Alec Smart becomes involved in the disappearance of a valuable necklace.

<i>The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse</i> 1938 film by Anatole Litvak

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse is a 1938 American crime film directed by Anatole Litvak and starring Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor and Humphrey Bogart. It was distributed by Warner Bros. and written by John Wexley and John Huston, based on the 1936 play The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, the first play written by short-story writer Barré Lyndon, which ran for three months on Broadway with Cedric Hardwicke after playing in London.

<i>Brother Orchid</i> 1940 film by Lloyd Bacon

Brother Orchid is a 1940 American crime/comedy film directed by Lloyd Bacon and starring Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sothern and Humphrey Bogart, with featured performances by Donald Crisp, Ralph Bellamy and Allen Jenkins. The screenplay was written by Earl Baldwin, with uncredited contributions from Jerry Wald and Richard Macauley, based on a story by Richard Connell originally published in Collier's Magazine on May 21, 1938. Prior to the creation of the movie version of Connell's story, a stage adaptation was written by playwright/novelist Leo Brady. The script was originally produced at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and remains in print and available for performance via the Samuel French catalog.

<i>Bullets or Ballots</i> 1936 film by Edward G. Robinson, William Keighley

Bullets or Ballots is a 1936 gangster film starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell, Barton MacLane, and Humphrey Bogart. Robinson plays a police detective who infiltrates a crime gang. This is the first of several films featuring both Robinson and Bogart.

<i>Charlie Chan in Shanghai</i> 1935 film by James Tinling

Charlie Chan in Shanghai is the ninth Charlie Chan film produced by Fox Film Corporation with the title character played by Warner Oland.

<i>Charlie Chan at the Circus</i> 1936 film by Harry Lachman

Charlie Chan at the Circus is the 11th film produced by Fox starring Warner Oland as Charlie Chan. A seemingly harmless family outing drags a vacationing Chan into a murder investigation.

<i>The Case of the Lucky Legs</i> 1935 film by Archie Mayo

The Case of the Lucky Legs is a 1935 mystery film, the third in a series of Perry Mason films starring Warren William as the famed lawyer.

Public Hero ﹟1 is a 1935 American crime film starring Lionel Barrymore, Jean Arthur, Chester Morris and Joseph Calleia. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production was directed by J. Walter Ruben.

<i>The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo</i> (film) 1935 film by Stephen Roberts

The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo is a 1935 American romantic comedy film made by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Stephen Roberts, and starred Ronald Colman, Joan Bennett, and Colin Clive. The screenplay was written by Nunnally Johnson and Howard Smith, based on a play by Ilya Surgutchoff and Frederick Albert Swan. The film was inspired by the song of the same name popularised by Charles Coborn.

<i>Oil for the Lamps of China</i> (film) 1935 film by Mervyn LeRoy

Oil for the Lamps of China is a 1935 drama film starring Pat O'Brien and Josephine Hutchinson. It is based on the novel of the same name by Alice Tisdale Hobart. A man blindly puts his faith in his employer. The film was loosely remade in 1941 as Law of the Tropics.

<i>Hit the Road</i> 1941 American crime comedy film directed by Joe May

Hit the Road is a 1941 crime comedy film featuring the Dead End Kids and Little Tough Guys.

<i>The Perfect Gentleman</i> (film) 1935 film by Tim Whelan

The Perfect Gentleman is a 1935 American comedy film directed by Tim Whelan and starring Frank Morgan, Cicely Courtneidge and Heather Angel. It was based on a play by Edward Childs Carpenter. The screenplay concerns the father of a British country vicar, who almost brings scandal on the family when he becomes entangled with an actress.

<i>King of the Underworld</i> (1939 film) 1939 film

King of the Underworld is a 1939 crime drama film starring Humphrey Bogart as a gangster and Kay Francis as a doctor forced to treat him. It was directed by Lewis Seiler. It is a remake of the 1935 film Dr. Socrates, which was based on a short story by W. R. Burnett.

<i>The Country Doctor</i> (1936 film) 1936 American drama film

The Country Doctor is a 1936 American drama film directed by Henry King and written by Sonya Levien. The film stars Jean Hersholt, June Lang, Slim Summerville, Michael Whalen, Dorothy Peterson and Robert Barrat. The Country Doctor was released on March 12, 1936, by 20th Century Fox.


  1. Greene, Graham (7 February 1936). "Dr Socrates/The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo/The Imperfect Lady". The Spectator . (reprinted in: Taylor, John Russell, ed. (1980). The Pleasure Dome . pp.  50–51. ISBN   0192812866.)