The Citadel (1938 film)

Last updated

The Citadel
Directed by King Vidor
Screenplay by Ian Dalrymple
Frank Wead
Elizabeth Hill
Based on The Citadel
1937 novel
by A. J. Cronin
Produced by Victor Saville
Starring Robert Donat
Rosalind Russell
Ralph Richardson
Rex Harrison
Cinematography Harry Stradling
Edited by Charles Frend
Music by Louis Levy
Charles Williams
Distributed by Loew's Inc [1]
Release date
  • 3 November 1938 (1938-11-03)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$987,000 (Domestic earnings)
$1,611,000 (Foreign earnings)

The Citadel is a 1938 British drama film based on the 1937 novel of the same name by A. J. Cronin. The film was directed by King Vidor and produced by Victor Saville for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British at Denham Studios. [1] It stars Robert Donat and Rosalind Russell. The film and book helped the creation of Britain's NHS in 1947. [2]



Dr. Andrew Manson (Robert Donat) is an idealistic, newly qualified Scottish doctor dedicated to treating the Welsh miners suffering from tuberculosis in the Welsh mining village of Blaenely and is an apprentice to Dr. Page (Basil Gill). Initially, he has many lofty scientific goals, but meets local resistance in his research. After his laboratory and notes are destroyed by the miners, he moves to London, treating working-class patients in impoverished conditions. There, his purpose erodes when a chance encounter with a medical school friend, Dr. Frederick Lawford (Rex Harrison) leads to his quiet seduction by an unethical medical establishment, treating rich hypochondriacs. Christine (Rosalind Russell), his wife, tries to set him back on the original path. Dr. Philip Denny (Ralph Richardson), Manson's best friend and still working for improved working-class health, dies at the hands of an incompetent, social-climbing surgeon.

Differences from other versions

The film is based on the novel, but departs from it in certain vital respects. In the original text, the character of Christine Manson is killed off in a road accident at the point when she and her husband have begun to address problems in their relationship. The incident involving the incompetent surgeon occurs, but it is a minor character who dies. Denny survives, and the understanding (not related in the book but implied) is that he and Manson went into practice together. [3] A 1982 BBC radio adaptation [4] of the novel stays closer to the original text.



The film was nominated for Oscars in four categories: Best Picture, Best Actor (Robert Donat), Directing, and Adapted Screenplay.

The film won the Best Picture Award from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review. It is a New York Times Critics' Pick and is also listed in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.


A Hindi-language film, Tere Mere Sapne, based on the A.J. Cronin novel, was released in 1971.

In February 2020, the film was shown at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, as part of a retrospective dedicated to King Vidor's career. [5]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">King Vidor</span> American writer and director (1894–1982)

King Wallis Vidor was an American film director, film producer, and screenwriter whose 67-year film-making career successfully spanned the silent and sound eras. His works are distinguished by a vivid, humane, and sympathetic depiction of contemporary social issues. Considered an auteur director, Vidor approached multiple genres and allowed the subject matter to determine the style, often pressing the limits of film-making conventions.

The year 1938 in film involved some significant events.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">A. J. Cronin</span> Scottish physician and novelist (1896–1981)

Archibald Joseph Cronin, known as A. J. Cronin, was a Scottish physician and novelist. His best-known novel is The Citadel (1937), about a Scottish doctor who serves in a Welsh mining village before achieving success in London, where he becomes disillusioned about the venality and incompetence of some doctors. Cronin knew both areas, as a medical inspector of mines and as a doctor in Harley Street. The book exposed unfairness and malpractice in British medicine and helped to inspire the National Health Service.

<i>Northwest Passage</i> (film) 1940 film

Northwest Passage, also billed as Northwest Passage , is a 1940 American Western film in Technicolor, directed by King Vidor. It stars Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, Walter Brennan and Ruth Hussey. The film is set in 1759, and tells a partly fictionalized version of the real-life St. Francis Raid by Rogers' Rangers, led by Robert Rogers on the primarily Abenaki village of St. Francis, in modern-day Canada. The screenplay, by Laurence Stallings and Talbot Jennings, is based on the 1937 historical novel Northwest Passage by Kenneth Roberts.

<i>The Citadel</i> (novel) 1937 novel by A. J. Cronin

The Citadel is a novel by A. J. Cronin, first published in 1937, which was groundbreaking in its treatment of the contentious theme of medical ethics. It has been credited with laying the foundation in Britain for the introduction of the NHS a decade later.

<i>The Citadel</i> (1983 TV series) British television series

The Citadel is a 1983 BBC television adaptation written by Don Shaw from A. J. Cronin's 1937 novel The Citadel. It was produced by Ken Riddington. The drama was directed by Peter Jefferies and Mike Vardy.

<i>The 39 Steps</i> (1935 film) 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock

The 39 Steps is a 1935 British spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. It is loosely based on the 1915 novel The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. It concerns a Canadian civilian in London, Richard Hannay, who becomes caught up in preventing an organisation of spies called "The 39 Steps" from stealing British military secrets. Mistakenly accused of the murder of a counter-espionage agent, Hannay goes on the run to Scotland and becomes tangled up with an attractive woman, Pamela, while hoping to stop the spy ring and clear his name.

<i>The Stars Look Down</i> 1935 novel by A. J. Cronin

The Stars Look Down is a 1935 novel by A. J. Cronin which chronicles various injustices in an English coal mining community. A film version was released in 1940, and television adaptations include both Italian (1971) and British (1975) versions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cultural depictions of tuberculosis</span>

Through its effect on the world's population and major artists in various fields, tuberculosis has appeared in many forms in human culture. The disease was for centuries associated with poetic and artistic qualities in its sufferers, and was known as "the romantic disease". Many artistic figures, including the poet John Keats, the composer Frédéric Chopin and the artist Edvard Munch, either had the disease or were close to others who did.

<i>H. M. Pulham, Esq.</i> 1941 film by King Vidor

H. M. Pulham, Esq. is a 1941 American drama film directed by King Vidor and starring Hedy Lamarr, Robert Young, and Ruth Hussey. Based on the novel H. M. Pulham, Esq. by John P. Marquand, the film is about a middle-aged businessman who has lived a conservative life according to the routine conventions of society, but who still remembers the beautiful young woman who once brought him out of his shell. Vidor co-wrote the screenplay with his wife, Elizabeth Hill Vidor. The film features an early uncredited appearance by Ava Gardner. In February 2020, the film was shown at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, as part of a retrospective dedicated to King Vidor's career.

<i>Hatters Castle</i> (film) 1942 film by Lance Comfort

Hatter's Castle is a 1942 British film noir based on the 1931 novel Hatter's Castle by A. J. Cronin, which dramatizes the ruin that befalls a Scottish hatter set on recapturing his imagined lost nobility. The film was made by Paramount British Pictures and stars Robert Newton, Deborah Kerr, James Mason, and Emlyn Williams. It is believed to be the only film that depicts the Tay Bridge disaster.

<i>Tere Mere Sapne</i> (1971 film) 1971 Indian film

Tere Mere Sapne is a 1971 film produced by Dev Anand, and written and directed by his brother Vijay Anand for Navketan Films. The movie stars Dev Anand, Mumtaz, Hema Malini and Vijay Anand in key roles. The film's music is by S. D. Burman and the story is based on The Citadel, a novel by A.J. Cronin. In 1972, it was made as Bengali film Jiban Saikate, with Soumitra Chatterjee and Aparna Sen and in 1982, it was remade into the Telugu film Madhura Swapnam.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Moultrie Kelsall</span>

Moultrie Rowe Kelsall was a Scottish film and television character actor, who began his career in the industry as a radio director and television producer. He also contributed towards architectural conservation.

<i>The Citadel</i> (2003 miniseries) Italian TV series or program

La Cittadella is a 2003 Italian miniseries based on A. J. Cronin's 1937 novel, The Citadel, and produced by Titanus. It was directed by Fabrizio Costa and stars Massimo Ghini as Dr. Manson and Barbora Bobuľová as his wife, Christine. Other television versions include an American (1960), another Italian (1964), and two British adaptations.

The Citadel is a 1960 American television film adaptation of A. J. Cronin's 1937 novel The Citadel. It was written by Dale Wasserman and directed by Paul Bogart. It starred James Donald as Dr. Manson and Ann Blyth as Christine Barlow.

<i>La Cittadella</i> (1964 miniseries) Italian TV series or program

La Cittadella is a 1964 Italian miniseries based on A. J. Cronin's 1937 novel, The Citadel, and produced by Radiotelevisione Italiana. It was directed by Anton Giulio Majano and stars Alberto Lupo as Dr. Manson and Anna Maria Guarnieri as his wife, Christine. Other television versions include an American (1960), another Italian (2003), and two British adaptations, 1960 and 1983.

The Citadel was a 1960 British television adaptation of A. J. Cronin's 1937 novel, The Citadel. The series was directed by John Frankau and produced by Peter Graham Scott. It starred Eric Lander as Dr. Andrew Manson, and Zena Walker as Christine, his wife. This television adaptation is entirely missing, i.e. all nine episodes are believed to be lost.

<i>The Wedding Night</i> 1935 American romantic film by King Vidor

The Wedding Night is a 1935 American romantic drama film directed by King Vidor and starring Gary Cooper and Anna Sten. Written by Edith Fitzgerald and based on a story by Edwin H. Knopf, the film is about a financially strapped novelist who returns to his country home in Connecticut looking for inspiration for his next novel and becomes involved with a beautiful young Polish woman and her family. The film was produced by Samuel Goldwyn and filmed at Samuel Goldwyn Studios from early November to early December 1934. It was released in the United States on March 8, 1935.

<i>Isnt Life Wonderful!</i> 1953 film by Harold French

Isn't Life Wonderful! is a 1953 British technicolor period comedy film directed by Harold French and starring Cecil Parker, Eileen Herlie and Donald Wolfit. The film was shot at the Elstree Studios of Associated British with sets designed by the art director Terence Verity. It was released in the United States as Uncle Willie's Bicycle Shop, the title of Brock Williams original 1948 novel based on his boyhood experiences.

<i>The Blackheath Poisonings</i> (TV series) British television series

The Blackheath Poisonings is a British period crime television series which originally aired on ITV in 3 episodes between 7 and 9 December 1992. It is an adaptation of the 1978 novel of the same title by Julian Symons.


  1. 1 2 The Citadel at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. "A.J. Cronin: Biography on Undiscovered Scotland". Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  3. Cronin, AJ.The Citadel, Gollancz 1938.
  4. "BBC Radio 4 - the Citadel".
  5. "Berlinale 2020: Retrospective "King Vidor"". Berlinale. Retrieved 28 February 2020.

Streaming audio