Doctor in the House (1954)

Often in medical school movies, the tone is relentlessly solemn. Not with Doctor in the House (1954).

Although the film presents the profession itself with high regard, it pokes a bit of fun at the protagonists - four medical students in England who share a flat. Because each main character is a variation of movie buddy types - the newbie, the woman-chaser, the free thinker/con artist, and the athlete - there is a frat house flavor to the comedy.

In another med school film, Not as a Stranger, Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra turn in solid performances as very serious students, dedicated to their craft and with a singular focus. No one should stand in their way. If there is any intended humor in Stranger it is at the expense of pestering patients who are placated with placebo. The film places med students as flawed but powerful beings separate and distinct from their mortal patients.

Doctor in the House sees doctors as human beings with a sense of humor and interests outside of their profession. The audience is even allowed to see them doubt themselves.

House treats the profession as you would the uncle you have fun with but ultimately admire. Take for instance the scene where a new resident (played by Dick Bogarde), comically nervous as anything,  goes on a maternity case. The mother names her newborn after the physician and the shot remains on Bogarde's face for a bit -he's honored.  There is mutual respect between physicians and John Q. Public in this film.

Doctor in the House is a series of vignettes through the years of school. There's even a cameo by Kay Kendall that I wish would last longer. Whether our protagonists succeed or fail in their studies is the primary conflict, but you don't really care if they do or not. They're just fun to watch.


  1. Wonderful film to recommend to your readers. I raise a toast to you and Mrs. Rivington Lomax.

  2. Ha! I love the film. And it has kick-started my interest in Dick Bogarde, who plays the newbie student.

    Bogarde has 71 movies under his belt, was knighted and everything. I've started watching some of his later films, and -boy!- are they interesting. You really don't know how they'll end.

    - Java


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