Monday, March 21, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Dark Delusion (1947) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

And so we finally come to DARK DELUSION (1947), the last film in the Dr. Gillespie Movie Collection from the Warner Archive. I'm sad to see this series end, as I will miss spending time with the staff of Blair General Hospital.

DARK DELUSION is the 15th and final film in a series which began with YOUNG DR. KILDARE (1938) nearly a decade previously.

Van Johnson's Dr. Red Adams, last seen in the previous film in the series, BETWEEN TWO WOMEN (1945), is nowhere in sight, and there's no explanation for his absence.

The rest of the gang is still around, including crochety Dr. Gillespie (Lionel Barrymore), the always-ebullient Dr. Lee Wong How (Keye Luke), starchy Nurse Molly Byrd (Alma Kruger), long-suffering Nurse Nosey Parker (Nell Craig), hospital switchboard operator Sally (Marie Blake), and Dr. Gillespie's longtime personal aide Conover (George Reed).

In DARK DELUSION Dr. Gillespie mentors Dr. Tommy Coalt (James Craig), a brilliant doctor liked by his friends but who possesses a terrible bedside manner, being tactlessly direct and at times unsympathetic.

Dr. Gillespie sends Dr. Coalt to a small town to cover the practice for an old friend (Art Baker) who is going to volunteer for a few weeks in postwar Europe. While there Dr. Coalt meets a beautiful young woman named Cynthia (Lucille Bremer of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS) who is acting strangely. The doctor comes to believe Cynthia's odd behavior isn't mental illness, but a brain tumor.

Meanwhile Dr. Lee also comes to town and helps a couple (Warner Anderson and Jayne Meadows) who have adopted a baby.

DARK DELUSION could have stood a bit faster pacing, but on the whole it's a pretty enjoyable entry, thanks to a fine cast.

I've now seen all but one of Lucille Bremer's feature films, and while I like her a lot, this isn't one of her better roles; her take on a disturbed young woman involves a lot of vacant stares. That said, the script didn't give her and the director a great deal to work with, and I still enjoy watching her on screen.

Much more engaging is Jayne Meadows, who only has a few brief scenes yet completely inhabits her role as the well-to-do, confident young wife who is besotted with her newly adopted son. Meadows appeared in a few films in the '40s, including LADY IN THE LAKE (1947) and THE LUCK OF THE IRISH (1948), and why she didn't have a bigger film career is a mystery, as she's very charismatic.

Geraldine Wall does a fine job as the savvy nurse assisting Dr. Coalt on his temporary assignment. Look for Gary Gray as the young patient she's treating when Dr. Coalt first arrives and Henry Stephenson as another doctor in town.

I didn't think Alma Kruger looked quite well in this film; whether or not it's related, she only made one more film, FOREVER AMBER (1947), released the same year. She lived until 1960, when she passed on at the age of 88.

Fans of MGM films will recognize Lucille Bremer's home from THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940), while Dr. Coalt's temporary office is in the home Bremer's character lived in in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944)!

DARK DELUSION was directed by Willis Goldbeck and photographed by Charles Rosher. It runs 90 minutes.

Previous reviews of films in the Dr. Gillespie Collection: CALLING DR. GILLESPIE (1942), DR. GILLESPIE'S NEW ASSISTANT (1942), DR. GILLESPIE'S CRIMINAL CASE (1943), 3 MEN IN WHITE (1944), and BETWEEN TWO WOMEN (1945).

The Archive DVD is a good print, and the trailer is included on the DVD.

Sincere thanks to the Warner Archive for making this enjoyable series available in such a nice set!

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD collection.  Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop. Please note that the initial sets of this series sold by the WB shop will be traditionally replicated (pressed) rather than burned on demand.

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