Successful and well-liked, Dr. Noah Praetorius becomes the victim of a witch hunt at the hands of Professor Elwell, who disdains Praetorius’s unorthodox medical views and also questions his relationship with the mysterious, ever-present Mr. Shunderson. Fuel is added to the fire when Praetorius befriends young Deborah Higgins, who has become suicidal at the prospect of having a baby by her ex boyfriend, a military reservist who was called up for service in the Korean War and killed in action.
User Reviews: Although made in 1951, this movie is refreshingly modern and mature in its content yet it is a feel-good film in spite of the serious nature of some of the subject matter. Cary Grant plays Dr. Noah Praetorius, a medical doctor and professor at a college who also runs his own low-cost clinic. Hume Cronyn plays a fellow doctor and professor who hates Grant’s character. He is one of those fellows who doesn’t have to be passed over because of someone else or feel he has been unjustly treated to dislike that person. He just has to look around and see someone who is well-liked and successful where he is not to hold a grudge. The wonderful thing about Praetorius that Cronyn’s character cannot grasp is that it is not that Praetorius is exercising tremendous willpower in order to to do good because he feels he must live up to some kind of code of conduct. He is just a man with a generous spirit and a a healing soul. Dr. Praetorius’ constant companion is Mr. Shunderson. He isn’t in the actual employ of Praetorius, he is just always at his side and has no apparent medical training of any kind. It is the constant presence of this mysterious older man on which Cronyn centers his search for some dirt on Praetorius to hopefully eject him from the university.
Further complications arise when Dr. Pretorius treats a young woman (Jeanne Crain) who turns out to be pregnant by her fiancé who has just died in combat. The young woman attempts suicide upon hearing her condition. After Dr. Praetorius saves her life Mr. Shunderson points out that nothing has changed, the girl is still all alone and in trouble, and will therefore likely try suicide again.
These two subplots set up what could have been a very tragic film but ends up being an uplifting movie about the triumph of the better side of human nature made at the height of McCarthyism. You might even call it a kind of romantic comedy. I hadn’t seen this film in years and for some reason wrongly remembered it as having taken place at Christmas. In fact it takes place in the spring. I guess my memory had more to do with the fact that it has a kind of "spirit of Christmas" feeling in it the same way that "Boys’ Town" does. Check this one out, it will be sure to cheer you up.