Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet


Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet
Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet
Directed by William Dieterle
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Jack L. Warner
Wolfgang Reinhardt (executive producer)
Written by Norman Burnstine
Heinz Herald
John Huston
Starring Edward G. Robinson
Ruth Gordon
Otto Kruger
Donald Crisp
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography James Wong Howe
Editing by Warren Low
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) February 23, 1940 (1940-02-23)
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet is a 1940 biographical film directed by William Dieterle and starring Edward G. Robinson, based on the true story of the German doctor and scientist Dr. Paul Ehrlich. The film was released by Warner Bros., with some controversy considering the subject of syphilis in a major studio release. It was nominated for an Academy Award for its original screenplay (by Norman Burnstine, Heinz Herald and John Huston), but lost to The Great McGinty.

Contents

Plot

Paul Ehrlich (Edward G. Robinson) is a physician working in a German hospital. He is dismissed for his constant disregard for hospital rules, which are bound by bureaucratic red tape. The reason for his conflict is his steadily-rising interest in research for selective color staining, the marking of cells and microorganisms, using certain dyes and marking agents, which, as he describes in the film, have a certain 'affinity' to that which is to be stained and nothing else. Emil von Behring (Otto Kruger), whom Dr. Ehrlich meets and befriends, while experimenting with his staining techniques, is impressed with Dr. Ehrlich's staining methods and refers to it as 'specific staining,' adding that this is one of the greatest achievements in science, especially for diagnostic purposes, based on optical microscopia. After attending a medical presentation of one Dr. Robert Koch (Albert Basserman) showing that tuberculosis is a bacterial disease, Ehrlich is able to obtain a sample of the isolated bacterium. After an intense time of research and experimentation in his own lab, paired with a portion of luck, he is able to develop a staining process for this bacterium. This result is honored by Koch and medical circles as a highly valuable contribution to diagnostics.

During his work, Dr. Ehrlich is infected with tuberculosis, a disease still known as being deadly. Therefore, Ehrlich travels with his wife Hedwig (Ruth Gordon) to Egypt for recovery and relief. There he starts to discover the properties of the human body with regard to immunity. This discovery helps Ehrlich and colleague Dr. von Behring to fight a diphtheria epidemic that is killing off many children in the country. The two doctors are rewarded for their efforts.

Ehrlich concentrates on work to create his "magic bullets" - chemicals injected into the blood to fight various diseases. Ehrlich's laboratory has the help of a number of scientists like Dr. Sahachiro Hata (Wilfred Hari). The medical board, headed by Dr. Hans Wolfert (Sig Ruman), believes much of Ehrlich's work is a waste of money and resources and fight for a reduction, just as Ehrlich begins to work on a cure for syphilis. Ehrlich is financially backed by the widow of Jewish banker Georg Speyer, Franziska Speyer (Maria Ouspenskaya) and after 606 tries he finally discovers the remedy for the disease. This substance, first called "606", is now known as Arsphenamine or Salvarsan.

The joy of discovery is short-lived, as 38 patients who receive the treatment die. Dr. Wolfert denounces the cure publicly and accuses Ehrlich of murdering those that died from the cure. As faith in the new cure starts to dwindle, Ehrlich is forced to sue Wolfert for libel and in the process exonerate 606. Dr. von Bering (who had earlier told Ehrlich to give up his pipe dreams of cures by chemicals), who was called by the defense to denounce 606, instead states that he believes that 606 is responsible for the death of syphilis itself, the 39th death as he calls it. Ehrlich is exonerated, but the strain and stress from the trial are too much for his ill body and he dies shortly thereafter, first telling his assistants and colleagues about taking risks with regard to medicine.

Cast

See also

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Paul Ehrlich – Ein Leben für die Forschung auch Die Lebensgeschichte Paul Ehrlichs Originaltitel: The Magic Bullet auch Dr. Ehrlich s Magic Bullet Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1940 Länge: 103 Minuten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Magic bullet — may refer to: An enchanted bullet of German folklore and a feature of Carl Maria von Weber s ghostly opera Der Freischütz Magic bullet , a concept of selectively targeting a bacterium without affecting other organisms, most associated with Dr.… …   Wikipedia

  • The Magic Bullet — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Paul Ehrlich – Ein Leben für die Forschung auch Die Lebensgeschichte Paul Ehrlichs Originaltitel: The Magic Bullet auch Dr. Ehrlich s Magic Bullet Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1940 Länge: 103 Minuten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • The Magic Bullet — Infobox Film | name=Dr. Ehrlich s Magic Bullet director = William Dieterle producer = Hal B. Wallis Jack L. Warner Wolfgang Reinhardt (executive producer) writer = Norman Burnstine Heinz Herald John Huston starring = Edward G. Robinson Ruth… …   Wikipedia

  • Magic Fire — is a biographical film about the life of composer Richard Wagner, released in the United States on March 29, 1956 by Republic Pictures. It had been released in the United Kingdom on July 15, 1955. Additional European releases were in Denmark on… …   Wikipedia

  • Ehrlich, Paul — born March 14, 1854, Strehlen, Silesia, Prussia died Aug. 20, 1915, Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Ger. German medical scientist. After early work on distribution of foreign substances in the body and on cell nutrition, he found uses for staining… …   Universalium

  • Ehrlich — noun German bacteriologist who found a magic bullet to cure syphilis and was a pioneer in the study of immunology (1854 1915) • Syn: ↑Paul Ehrlich • Instance Hypernyms: ↑bacteriologist * * * /ayrdd likh/, n. Paul /powl/, 1854 1915, German… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Paul Ehrlich — Infobox Scientist name =Paul Ehrlich box width = image width = caption =Paul Ehrlich birth date =March 14, 1854 birth place =Strehlen, Lower Silesia death date =August 20, 1915 (aged 61) death place =Bad Homburg, Hesse, Germany residence =… …   Wikipedia

  • Paul Ehrlich - Ein Leben für die Forschung — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Paul Ehrlich – Ein Leben für die Forschung auch Die Lebensgeschichte Paul Ehrlichs Originaltitel: The Magic Bullet auch Dr. Ehrlich s Magic Bullet Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1940 Länge: 103 Minuten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Paul Ehrlich – Ein Leben für die Forschung — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Paul Ehrlich – Ein Leben für die Forschung auch Die Lebensgeschichte Paul Ehrlichs Originaltitel: The Magic Bullet auch Dr. Ehrlich s Magic Bullet Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1940 Länge: 103 Minuten …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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