Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Ford|
|Produced by||Samuel Goldwyn|
|Written by||Sidney Howard|
|Music by||Alfred Newman|
|Editing by||Hugh Bennett|
|Studio||The Samuel Goldwyn Company|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Release date(s)||December 26, 1931|
|Running time||108 minutes|
The film concerns a young medical researcher (Ronald Colman) who leaves his practice as a doctor in a small town to accept a position in an institute. Eager to help mankind, he goes to a Caribbean island to help the natives fight bubonic plague. His loving wife (Helen Hayes) goes with him, much against his wishes.
The film is largely faithful to the novel, but completely omits all mention of Arrowsmith's wealthy and self-centered second wife.
The film significantly avoids stereotypes in its portrayal of a central black character. Marchland, played by Clarence Brooks is a college graduate who speaks proper English and who does not stutter or demonstrate cowardice.
The film was a financial and critical success, garnering four Oscar nominations. Present-day critics, however, complain that the film does not age well, that the events in the titular character's life are rushed through, and as such does not do justice to the themes of the novel. It is often suggested that, at 40, Ronald Coleman was too old to play the idealistic young hero, and that Myrna Loy is not given enough screen time. Made during the early sound period, the film features static camerawork and minimal background music.