Dr. Socrates

Dr. Socrates is a 1935 crime film starring Paul Muni as a doctor forced to treat a wounded gangster, played by Barton MacLane.

Dr. Socrates
Directed byWilliam Dieterle
Written byRobert Lord (screenplay)
Mary C. McCall, Jr. (adaptation)
Based on"Dr. Socrates"
1935 story in Collier's
by W. R. Burnett
Produced byRobert Lord
StarringPaul Muni
Ann Dvorak
Barton MacLane
CinematographyTony Gaudio
Edited byRalph Dawson
Music byBernhard Kaun
Heinz Roemheld
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • October 19, 1935 (1935-10-19)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States


The death of his fiancée in a car crash so unnerves top surgeon Dr. Lee Cardwell that he moves to a rural community and becomes a general practitioner, but he attracts few patients. The local doctor calls him Dr. Socrates because he always has his head in a book of classics.

Bank robber Red Bastian comes to him after he is shot in the arm during his latest caper. Lee treats Red, but is unwillingly to accept payment. Red, however, makes him take a $100 bill for his trouble.

Later on, while on his way to another bank job, Red picks up hitchhiker Josephine Gray. While Red's gang is busy robbing the bank, Josephine tries to run away, but gets shot. She is treated by Dr. Socrates. At first, the police think that she is a gang "moll", but she is cleared and recuperates at the doctor's home.

Red and his gang kidnap her and take her to their hideout, which the doctor had visited earlier on a medical call. He tells the police where to find the gang, but asks that they give him a chance to get Josephine safely away. He convinces the gang members that they need to be inoculated against an outbreak of typhoid fever, but what he really gives them is a knockout drug. He takes care of Red himself. Lee is a hero, and even the local doctor says nice things about him.


Critical receptionEdit

Writing for The Spectator in 1936, Graham Greene gave the film a poor review, dismissing it as "a third-rate gangster film". Despite comparing Paul Muni's performance to personality performers like Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford, Greene concludes that his effort in Dr Socrates "is not one of Muni's successful films". Whereas the film should have been exciting, all that the film could conjure up was funniness.[1]


  1. ^ Greene, Graham (7 February 1936). "Dr Socrates/The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo/The Imperfect Lady". The Spectator. (reprinted in: Taylor, John Russell, ed. (1980). The Pleasure Dome. pp. 50–51. ISBN 0192812866.)

External linksEdit