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4.6 out of 5 stars
Captain Newman, M.D.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2003
While its true that "To Kill a Mockingbird" overshadows "Captain Newman, M.D." in the popular consciousness of Gregory Peck's work, I believe the latter ranks among his best work. A psychologist in charge of a stateside U.S. Army Air Corps mental hospital, Captain Newman and his staff struggle to treat aviators shattered by their combat experiences in the European Theater of Operations. The supporting cast is excellent, and while there's plenty of humor in "Captain Newman", the script doesn't shy away from the wrenching impact of war upon the human psyche. Look for young Robert Duvall as a speechless veteran in a small part that, ironically, reprises the role he had in "To Kill a Mockingbird". This classic oughta be available on DVD!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A precursor of sorts to "M*A*S*H" in that it takes a somewhat critical view of the military establishment, "Captain Newman M.D." is an intelligent comedy-drama with Gregory Peck as a military psychiatrist beset by a variety of troubled patients, most notably a traumatized corporal played by singer Bobby Darin who received a well-deserved best supporting actor Oscar nomination for his splendid work here. Peck is good, too, bringing his trademark blend of stoic pride and quiet compassion to the title role. The comedy, most of it provided by conman Tony Curtis, doesn't always blend smoothly with the drama, but the cast keeps this generally absorbing film on a mostly steady track throughout.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2005
and yet, this SUPERB film isn't on DVD! ARGH!!!!

Dr. Josiah Newman (Gregory Peck) runs the psychiatric unit of a U.S. Military Hospital during WWII. Short of help, Newman coerces newly arrived neurotic orderly Jackson Leibowitz (Tony Curtis) to work in his ward. Leibowitz's scheming & humor quickly turns life inside the ward upside down. Newman, while amused, tries to maintain a semblance of order. Newman's other recruit to the ward is nurse Lt. Francie Corum (Angie Dickinson). Corum is at first shocked by what she sees in the ward, but admires the compassionate & effective way in which Newman deals with each of his patients. Together Newman & Corum help a variety of patients with war related psychological traumas, while they themselves struggle with the dilema of healing these soldiers so they can be sent back into battle to face possible death.

At the time of the writing of this review, you can only get this on VHS (if you're lucky), and catch it on AMC. I really wish this was on DVD. I'd buy it in a HEARTBEAT.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2000
I've reviewed Gregory Peck's Twelve O'Clock High (see that in Amazon.com), which I argue was really based on Viscount Air Marshall T. Harris ("Bomber" Harris) - see my review of the latter. Gregory Peck has a habit of doing only Class Act movies, which for the benefit of the "Cool Alpha-Wave" generation means Only the Best. Not many people recall now that Captain Newman, M.D. was based on a real story - the story of Beaumont Military Hospital in Beaumont, Texas (near El Paso). I've argued in many of my reviews for greater public funding for the U.S. Veterans Administration, and Captain Newman, M.D. is better than all of my arguments. There really were and are devoted Army Psychiatrists like Captain Newman - a true Man for All Seasons, and devoted and ingenious assistants like his, and perhaps most important, Veterans in and out of the hospitals who gave their lives and their health for us.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2010
Since Tony Curtis recently passed away, I thought I would review one of his strong performances. Although Capt Newman MD stars Gregory Peck and Angie Dickinson, Tony Curtis steals the entire film from both stars. As army orderly Labowitz, his is the standout role and portrayal of a hypochondriacal orderly in an army psychiatric hospital, working in support of and sometimes in advance of his boss, Dr Newman. Newman tries to help soldiers who have developed mental illness as a result of their war time experiences. His job is to put these guys back together so they can go out and finish WWII.

As I remember, from Leo Rosten's novel, Labowitz is originally from Chicago, however Curtis draws on his own background and makes Labowitz a skeptical, cynical, brash, New Yorker, whose language is liberally peppered with Yiddishisms and other colorful expressions. Initially put off by the mental patients in his charge he comes to see them as his patients for whom he will go to great lengths. He scrounges up better food for them, he steals the top of the CO's Christmas tree to make his ward merrier, he steals a colleague's weekly salami package to give to the men, he uses the money Newman gives him to buy a Christmas tree on presents for his patients, and otherwise makes the ward a colorful, warm place for Newman's psychiatic cases to convalesce. Labowitz believes in Newman so much that he hustles patients for him from other non-psychiatric wards.

Although Curtis is the best thing about the film, Peck seems right as the reflective, patient Newman who battles the army in order to do the best for his charges. Robert Duvall, Bobby Darin, and Eddie Albert are the patients whose stories are fully developed in the movie and all three are really good in their parts. Angie Dickinson is pretty and believable as Newman's nurse, whom he recruits in order to give the ward's patients a good looking woman to inspire them. Create your own tribute to Curtis by including this film in an evening's entertainment.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2004
This film is an excellent mix of drama and comedy, loaded with pathos. Gregory Peck looks and acts like a wooden board (doen't he always?), but in this particlualr role his normally drab persona actually fits. While admittedly funny, Tony Curtis goes a bit over the top by portraying Corporal Liebowitz in a stereotypical Jewish vein. Eddie Albert is excellent. But the actor who shines brightest is Bobby Darin, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in this film. As shellshocked flier Jim Thompkins, Darin peforms as admirably as he did in "Pressure Point." He was a great talent, alleged histrionics and all. Try picturing the inanimate Peck or the Brooklynese Curtis (who, in dramtic roles never came off as believable) playing Thompkins in the sodium pentathol scene and you'll quickly realize how versatile Darin was as an actor and entertainer.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Unlike others who describe it as "mawkish," I thought it well-played and compelling.
Bobby Darin's part has been described as overplayed, and it may have been. If so, It did not detract, and in fact extra histrionics was called for by the part he played, to make the story believable.
This was a film about a psychiatric ward in a Western desert (Arizona) military hospital during the Second World War, filled with Army Air Corps veterans and their problems, mostly caused by the stress of combat in both the European and Pacific theaters.
Captain Newman (Gregory Peck), was the hero. Angie Dickinson and Tony Curtis did a superb job supporting, and Eddie Albert--an actual WWII combat hero-- and others did a great job as well. This one came out in 1963, and was greeted with critical acclaim at the time of its release.
One flaw--not a serious one--in Albert's part (Colonel Bliss) is the suggestion that he would receive a medical discharge. A bird colonel, almost certainly a professional, in the real world would have received a physical evaluation board's recommendation, and been granted temporary disability retirement, followed five years later by re-evaluation and permanent retirement. I did. The services treat their people better than simply dumping them. The explanation involving such a development would, no doubt, have been too time-consuming for mere movie entertainment.
Also, from the script it would seem that they relied on sodium pentothal ("flak juice") a lot in those days. It was, of course, used as a "truth serum" (and still is), but is also a widely used general anaesthetic in major surgery. I wonder whether it was as widely used as described, in psychiatric cases. I often wonder how accurate such details are in describing the reality of history. No doubt much would depend upon the dosage.
This was an entertaining film, and no doubt conveyed some truth.
Joseph (Joe) Pierre

author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
and other books
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2003
This is a fantatic movie which couples great acting, writing and direction.The movie is one of the reasons that my uncle is a psycologist and the fact that it is not on DVD is a total suprise to me. Please find a way to get this on DVD where it belongs.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This is a really enjoyable movie with good performances. I don't think they could get a cast like this together nowadays withount conflict on the set. Gregory Peck is as good as ever playing the title role. Tony Curtis is hilarious in a suuporting part. Angie Dickinson never looked better. Bobby Darin was up for an Oscar for his protrayal of a deeply trouble airman. I think the best performance goes to Eddie Albert as the troubled military staffer. Also, Robert Duvall puts in a fine show. It is fun and serious and extremely watchable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2010
I thought this was a great movie, especially as it deals with the topic of mental and emotional stress in war time. The acting was excellent. I especially enjoyed the antics of Tony Curtis, his down-to-earth, sincere, and practical relationship with the patients. And Gregory Peck delivered a wonderful performance as Captain Newman. I enjoy all of Peck's movies, and this one is no exception!
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