Paul Muni received his fist and last Oscar nomination for Daniel Mann’s drama “The Last Angry Man,” in which he plays Dr. Sam Abelman, a distinguished Brooklyn physician.
Based on a novel by Gerald Green, “The Last Angry Man” was later remade for TV with Pat Hingle in the Muni role.
TV-producer Woodrow Wilson Thrasher (David Wayne), concerned with losing his job, hopes to get good ratings by creating a special show celebrating the life and times of the elderly doctor Abelman.
For the past 45 years, the iconoclastic Abelman has run a free clinic in the poorest sections of Brooklyn. He has no time for TV (it’s too frivolous for him), and so Wayne tries to get his lifelong friend, Dr. Max Vogel (Luther Adler), to talk him into appearing in the show.
Vogel agrees on the condition that Wayne’s network promises to build a nice home in the suburbs for the physician and his wife (Nancy R. Pollock). Indeed, Vogel persuades the old, stubborn doctor that a Network special will permit him to express his critical views about the medical profession.
On the night of the broadcast, Abelman discovers that his slum patient (played by the young Billy Dee Williams) has been arrested for car theft. Leaving Thrasher dry, he rushes to the police station, where he is pressed into service to save a life. While doing so, he suffers a fatal heart attack.
Finally realizings that Abelman’s selfless idealism is of greater value than any commercial TV program, Trasher quits his job.
“The Last Angry Man was the swan song of vet Oscar-winning actor Paul Muni, who died eight years later.
Oscar Nominations: 2
Actor: Pual Muni
Art Direction-Set Decoration (b/w): Carl Anderson, William Kiernan.
Oscar Awards: None
The winner of the Bets Actor was Charlton Heston for “Ben-Hur.”
Geoge Stevens’ “The Diary of Anne Frank” won the Art Direction Oscar.
Running time: 100 Minutes.
Directed by Daniel Mann
Screenplay: Gerald Green
Released: October 22, 1959.
Paul Muni as Dr. Sam Abelman
David Wayne as Woodrow Wilson Thrasher
Betsy Palmer as Anne Thrasher
Luther Adler as Dr. Max Vogel
Joby Baker as Myron Malkin
Joanna Cook Moore as Alice Taggart