The Citadel (1938)

citadel

Starring: Robert Donat, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Richardson, Rex Harrison

Director: King Vidor

Summary: A struggling doctor is tempted to give up his ideals for a posh high-society practice

Other Nominations: Director, Actor (Donat), Screenplay

Positives

-The scenes were Donat is practicing and lives hang in the balance are all wonderfully directed, as the pacing, along with the cinematography and editing all work together to create some great tension.

-The acting is very good all-around. Donat pulls off the different aspects of his character well, Richardson and Harrison are great in their respective roles (although Harrison isn’t in the movie all that much), and I really liked Russell although I don’t think her character gave her the chance to show off how good of an actress she can be.

Negatives

-The biggest problem for me was the screenplay, especially the second half of the movie where it starts to drag and could have been tightened up quite a bit, as we get the same information over and over again without anything that sheds new light on the character at that point in the story.

-While it was maybe not as well-tread as it would become, the “idealistic young man who becomes corrupted until a moment of redemption saves him” storyline has been done to death by now and this one brings nothing new to the table. All the story beats you would expect are there and the characters weren’t unique or interesting enough to elevate it.

Overall

Solid movie with a great cast and director that could have used a better screenplay (or better source material since it was a (mostly) faithful adaptation of a novel.
Rating: C+

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