The Citadel

1938, Movie, NR, 110 mins

Review

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A faithful rendering of doctor-turned-author Cronin's semi-autobiographical novel, with the superb Donat toplining as a dedicated doctor who ministers to TB-infected Welsh miners and Russell lending stirring support as his devoted and idealistic wife.

At first, Andrew Manson (Donat) is full of lofty goals as he labors in the slums of a mining town, struggling to save the miserable health of downtrodden workers. Later, though, his noble purpose slowly corrodes when he begins to treat aristocratic, wealthy London patients. Turning to the material pleasures of the "good life," it takes the combined efforts of his wife and a close friend (Richardson) and several dramatic turns of events to convinces Manson that he has lost touch with his true aims in life.

Produced by MGM's British production unit after the studio had met with success in a similar foreign production, A YANK AT OXFORD, THE CITADEL is a gripping portrait of both idealism and its disillusionment, not a mere ode to nobility. It is carefully piloted by director Vidor, who wisely allows the consummate acting skills of Donat, Richardson and a marvelous supporting cast to carry the story forward with sensitivity and relaxed charm. Russell, too, at the cusp of her transition between playing society-matron supporting roles and zany comedic starring parts, artfully combines the gentility of the former and the appeal of the latter. leave a comment

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