I'll watch anything with Ronald Colman in it, so I was very glad he was Martin Arrowsmith because I'm not a big fan of Helen Hayes, who plays his wife, Leora.
Arrowsmith is a doctor with ambitions for important research. He meets Leora at his first job, they marry, and head back to her home town where Martin becomes country doctor.
He fails at saving John Qualen's child (medicine) but shines at fixing an outbreak of Black Leg Disease among cattle (research), angering state vet David Landau, who's cranky as usual here.
Martin realizes his ambition in going to work for the respected Professor Gottlieb (A.E. Anson), but after years of accomplishing nothing he's about ready to throw in the towel.
He winds up very nearly being the discoverer of a plague vaccine that's put to use when he and an accented Richard Bennett take off to the West Indies in an abrupt change of scenery where they take to treating the sick natives.
The outcome is bleak, the lesson is not to handle open vials of plague so cavalierly.
Oh, almost forgot, Myrna Loy shows up here too, though not until well into the film. Her relationship with Colman is only hinted at and her final scene seems altogether unnecessary with her coming forward to say a few words and practically backing out of the room as if she didn't belong in the first place. She really didn't.
In summary, maybe made a couple of years too early, Arrowsmith is a bit disjointed, but comes with enough surprises to retain interest throughout.
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