Lewis S (1925)

Arrowsmith. New York: Collier.

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Arrowsmith planning plague research from James Lind Library on Vimeo.

A film based on Sinclair Lewis’ novel, Arrowsmith, was released in 1931. It was written by Sidney Howard, directed by John Ford, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. In this clip, Arrowsmith (Ronald Colman), an idealistic medical researcher who had left his practice as a doctor in a small town to accept a position in a research institute, is in a Caribbean island, where he has gone to help the natives fight bubonic plague.

He has a serum which may or may not be protective, and he insists that he wants to test it in a controlled trial, to obtain reliable information upon which to base practice, worlwide. His proposal is dismissed by the Governor of the island, Sir Robert Fairland (Lumsden Hare), as outrageous and tantamount to using the population as guinea pigs.



The editors are grateful to:

Merrick Zwarenstein for drawing their attention to the clip from the film ‘Arrowsmith’.