If there were actually a revival of the Dr. Kildare franchise, it'd probably be on television. The prolific film series was one of those of the 1930s and 1940s that only really existed cinematically because TV wasn't around yet to take over the episode concept. In fact, most people today likely associate the character more with the NBC show of the 1960s than with the original theatrical installments. However, while a new film franchise might not be in order, I would like to see MGM produce a modern take on one of its sequels, 1940's Dr. Kildare Goes Home.

The original film brings new doctor Kildare (Lew Ayres) back home to help his ailing, physician father with his load of patients. The younger Kildare decides to recruit other out of work doctors and set up a community clinic financed by a kind of early health insurance policy in which all the townspeople must pay 10-cents per week. The plan, which is somewhat akin to the idea of federally funded health care, angers the citizens with perfect health. But of course one of the most outspoken critics ends up ill and dependent on the clinic's care.
With the passing of the health care reform bill, this story may sound unnecessary. Yet there are still a number of Americans who are skeptical or angry about the changes to come for the U.S. medical system. And the basic plot of Dr. Kildare Goes Home could be altered and updated enough to still be relevant post-reform. Maybe the title character returns home to his very, very small Texas town to find it operating under a rebel health care system of its own. Or, maybe he goes further than the reform bill and attempts a single-payer system in his town. There is still enough debate about health care to be had that allows for many different plot ideas. How might you conceive of a timely Dr. Kildare film?

Whatever the story, this remake could be controversial and therefore a difficult film to market. But the ads could easily avoid any mention of the health care plan and focus on the love story instead -- as did the original's trailer, seen below:

categories Movies, Cinematical