Oscar Movies: Not as a Stranger (1955)–Stanley Kramer’s Medical Melodrama Starring Robert Mitchum and Olivia De Havilland

Directed by Stanley Kramer, this medical melodrama is adapted from the best-selling novel by Morton Thompson.

Cast against type and older for his role, Robert Mitchum plays an ambitious medical student named Lucas Marsh.  To that extent, he marries the older not especially attractive Kristina Hedvigson (Olivia de Havilland) so that she can pay for his tuition.

Kristina loves Lucas, but he is devoted to his work. Emotionally shutting himself off from everyone, including best friend, Alfred Boone (Frank Sinatra), and drunken father, Job Marsh (Lon Chaney Jr.), Lucas goes to work as the assistant to a tough small-town doctor, Runkleman (Charles Bickford).

He also begins an affair with the wealthy Harriet Lang (Gloria Grahame). Lucas claims he needs no one, because he perceives himself as the perfect physician.

When Lucas fails to revive his mentor Dr. Runkleman during heart surgery, he realizes that he’s not infallible after all. He returns to his wife, sobbing “Help me! Please help me!”

The secondary cast includes Broderick Crawford as a Jewish doctor denied entry into medicine’s upper circles, Carl Switzer as a patient, and Lee Marvin.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Sound Recording: Watson Jones.

Oscar Context:

The winner was Fred Hynes for the musical Oklahoma!

Running time: 135 minutes.

Released: June 28, 1955

DVD: December 9, 1992