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Monday, November 15, 2010

The Man Who Found Himself (1937)

Joan Fontaine (19 years old) in The Man Who Found Himself
John Beal
A young midwest doctor (John Beal) becomes so disillusioned with his life and career that he quits. Now, the title of the picture is essentially a spoiler, because Beal eventually does find himself. So what makes this film interesting? Well, it's obvious - Joan Fontaine, in her first film for RKO Pictures.

The film stars off with a surgery, a plane crash, a death, a scandal, and angst - enough to send Beal straight out of town. In one scene, a hitchhiking Beal accepts a ride from an experienced doctor, a character representing the kind of person we may meet just once in our lives.

After a long cross-country journey ending in California, Beal ends up becoming nothing but a vagabond, and says things like, "I wouldn't touch the medical profession with a banana stalk".

Enter Joan, who plays a lovely nurse who inspires him to think about embracing his true calling. Her character represents the people in our lives who believe in us, even when we don't.

It's fun to watch the chemistry and sparks between Joan and John Beal. There's a romantic scene that involves them getting soaked from a waterfall after a kiss.

Co-starring Phillip Huston who plays Beal's best friend (a pilot) who desperately wants to see him get a job.

Jane Walsh is Beal's girlfriend who wants to settle down and has little patience for his soul searching.

An exciting climatic sequence reminds us that things happen for a reason.

A great little movie (short too - only 67 minutes) that you can occasionally catch on the Turner Classic Movies channel. A special thanks to Kate from Silents and Talkies for providing a copy of this gem for me to see and review for the blog.