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Doctor Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940)

Ruth Gordon, Otto Kruger Edward G. Robinson , William Dieterle  |  NR |  DVD-R  What's this?
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ruth Gordon, Otto Kruger Edward G. Robinson
  • Directors: William Dieterle
  • Producers: Warner Bros.
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: May 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0026ZQJ6Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,555 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Oscar-honoree Edward G. Robinson ("Little Caesar," "Double Indemnity") stars in this true story of the German scientist who devoted his life to curing syphilis. Co-starring Oscar-nominee Ruth Gordon ("Harold and Maude") and Otto Kruger ("Saboteur"). Nominated for Best Screenplay.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Warners biography of famed chemist. July 29, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Edward G. Robinson should have netted an Oscar nom for his finest screen portrayal - as the dedicated chemist and researcher, Paul Ehrlich. This is one of the great Warners screen biographies (THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR, THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA, MADAME CURIE). The screenplay is literate and absorbing. The acting is excellent, the direction tight. Ehrlich introduced the idea of treatment with chemical substances and developed a cure for both diptheria and syphillis. The screenplay was deservedly nominated for an Oscar but it is Robinson who shines in an atypical but superb performance.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 606 is the magic number... April 23, 2006
Format:VHS Tape
Tugs at the heart-strings. A compassion-laden film about a true-life German Doctor seeking the cure to some of the world's worst ailments, including syphilis, polio and influenza.

When an epidemic hits the country, he goes about pulling out all the stops to find a so-called "magic bullet" as a veritable cure-all, and finally accomplishes his goal in pill 606, named after the number of tries to perfect this ideal drug. After some unfortunate losses in a few allergic reactions, despite his own warnings to the medical community that there still needed some tests to be done, he is vindicated and is eventually and rightfully awarded the Nobel Prize.

There are some really moving and inspiring moments in the film, with the contemplation of nobility, ingenuity, and the passionate pursuit of knowlege. It is all worth it in the end when you see the faces of those formerly ill children and grown-ups beaming with healthy life again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
I knew that Edward G. Robinson was an exciting performer, but never did I realize how masterful he was until I saw him in this wonderful role. The story is truly fascinating. The screenplay is sheer brilliance. Ruth Gordon excudes poise and sensitivity too. In fact, all the performers, are very well cast in this wonderful film. This movie is outstanding ~ a definite must see. You will be not only be fascinated and intrigued, but become so very well-educated about the pioneers of science regarding the fighting of disease, immunity, anti-bodies, innoculations, etc. FANTASTIC addition to your movie library. Definitely a must have!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing ! December 11, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
Amazing !!! that a top-quality movie such as this is not out on DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film and a great performance by Robinson July 17, 2010
If you've only seen Edward G. Robinson in gangster films, give this one a chance and see his range as an actor. Here he portrays German physician and researcher Paul Ehrlich, a pioneer at the turn of the 20th century in the treatment of infectious diseases and the man who found a cure for syphilis. Ehrlich starts out as a general practitioner employed by a hospital in order to provide a stable living for his family but whose real love is for research. His inquiring mind and nonconformist views ultimately makes him a leader in his field, but not before his pioneering ideas get him in trouble with the medical establishment in his country. Robinson has excellent support here with Ruth Gordon playing Ehrlich's adoring wife. Otto Kruger ably portrays Emil Adolf Von Behring, Ehrlich's friend and colleague who find himself at odds with his good friend's professional ideas at one point in their careers.

The film was controversial at the time for mentioning the disease "syphilis" by name, and I'm sure a little bit of sensationalism is why Jack Warner thought that Dr. Ehrlich's biography would be good material for a film, but there's something more subtle going on here. Made in 1940, after the Nazi menace had been recognized by many but before America had been attacked, there are many not so subtle digs at Germany to be found here. Early in the film several of Ehrlich's colleagues are ratting him out to the head of the hospital for not following hospital rules. Specifically, Ehrlich realizes that the sweat baths prescribed as the treatment of syphilis at the time - 1890 - are of no value whatsoever. When a patient of Ehrlich's says that the baths sap his strength and may cost him his job, Ehrlich says that he can skip the baths.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD-R|Verified Purchase
Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet is a beautifully crafted movie that tells the inspirational story of the German physician Paul Ehrlich, who developed the first synthetic antimicrobial drug. His work on infectious diseases saved hundreds of thousands of lives and changed scientific research forever. The biographical story of Herr Ehrlich's life work is masterfully presented by the skilled director William Dieterle, whose long and distinguished cinematic career includes such movies as "The Story of Louis Pasteur" (1935), "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1936), "The Hunchback of Nortre Dame" (1939), and "Portrait of Jennie" (1946).
I know I will sound old when I say, "They don't make them like this any more." But the loving care and attention given to every detail of this film is a shining example of the high art to which all movies should aspire. The finely crafted script was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing Original Screenplay in 1941. And the three screenwriters, Norman Burnstine, Heinz Harold, and John Huston, deserved to win.
Edward G. Robinson also should have received an Academy Award nomination for his compelling and poignant portrayal of Dr. Ehrlich in the movie. I think it is one of his finest performances, and that is saying something. Sterling performances from such fine actors as Ruth Gordon, Otto Kruger, Donald Crisp, Maria Ouspenskays, and many others combine to make "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" a remarkable film. The people who acted in and made this film took their art seriously, and the results are exhilarating.
Anyone aspiring to be a good actor should study the fine performances given in this film. Anyone who wants to know what an excellent script should be, and how to bring that script to life, needs to look no further than Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet.
So, if you want to see film making at its very best, don't miss this intelligent and highly entertaining work of art.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is one of my favorite movies. I am glad that I ordered it.
Published 2 months ago by Paula Montoya
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This black and white movie is well done in an age when movies portrayed serious illnesses without the gore in today's movies.... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Y. Marts
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommeneded
Edward G. Robinson was great a were the other actors
I have watched this many times and always enjoy this movie as
I have seen this when was younger
Published 11 months ago by HELLENIC
5.0 out of 5 stars Two real stories worth remembering,
Great older movie that moves the heart, and gives a feeling of
thankfulness for folks who dedicate themselves to help their
fellow humanity.
Published 12 months ago by robert s boston jr
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic bullet
Excellent movie. This was Edward G. Robinsons' best role. I couldn't stop watching it. What an intelligent doctor this was. He did so much for medicine, and public health. Read more
Published 13 months ago by barb
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Paul Ehrlich, the man who would not quit
A good story about a man who would not quit in his fight to end the pain and suffering of millions of people.
Published 14 months ago by J
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome movie
An excellent movie. Loved every minute of it. Ehrlich's story is inspiring, awesome, and is filled with cool twists and turns.
Published 17 months ago by Bradley H. Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Ehrlich's Magic Bullet
I love Edward G. Robinson's acting in this film. I could feel the character's deep commitment and dedication. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Carmen
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent biopic
Well-staged and perfectly cast, with a literate and reasonably scientific script. Classic direction makes the best of the performances, and James Wong Howe delivers his usual... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mr Aurelius
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest performance of Robinson's career
This movie is simply stunning in all aspects.
It's an engaging and well written, well acted true story of an now unknown hero of medical science who saved countless... Read more
Published 21 months ago by William R. Sweeney
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