Saturday, July 26, 2014

1963 - CAPTAIN NEWMAN MD , an early version of MASH

Good old Gregory Peck is Captain Newman a psychiatrist treating soldiers during World War  II suffering from PTDS or what was communal called battle fatigue. Peck is such a great psychiatrist that he can spend about 5 minutes with a screwed up soldier and instantly diagnosis and cure the guy. 

Tony Curtis is a staff orderly who is one of those scrounger guys they always have in these army films.  He always has some scam going and he knows where to get stuff that Newman needs even if it isn't "by the book." Angie Dickinson is the hot nurse persuaded by Captain Newman to help the nuts in the psych ward by walking around so they can ogle her legs in a truly sexist moment of the film.

I guess you can give this film a little credit for taking on the problems of soldiers with "battle fatigue" long before it was a popular subject but everything in this film is so neat and clean and easily wrapped up.  The film was clearly shot on the Universal back lot with all the sets brightly lighted and very pretty for a psych hospital ward.  Frankly the comedy and the drama don't mix real well.  The antics of Tony Curtis and the somber Gregory Peck do not exactly make for a great screen team.

This film reminds me of MASH if you were to take MASH and have it remade by a bunch of "white bread" middle aged guys.  The film's also very long.

126 minutes.

No comments: