Men in White (1934): Bolesławski’s Medical Melodrama, Starring Ckark Gable as Idealist Doctor and Myrna Loy as his Love Interest (Abortion, Censorship, Production Code)

Ryszard Bolesławski directed Men in White, a pre-Code medical melodrama, starring Clark Gable and Myrna Loy.

Men in White
Men in white poster 1934.jpg

original film poster

The story is loosely based on the Sidney Kingsley play of the same name.

Due to suggestions of illicit romance and abortion, the film was frequently cut.

The Legion of Decency cited the movie as unfit for public exhibition.

Gable plays Dr. George Ferguson, a dedicated young doctor, who places his patients above everyone else. However, his Social Register fianceé, Laura Hudson (Myrna Loy), can’t accept the fact that he considers an appointment in the operating room more important than attending parties.

He soon drifts into an affair with a pretty nurse who shares his passion for healing.

One thread of the story involves diabetic hypoglycemia: Two doctors have conflict at the bedside of young girl desperately ill. The younger doctor diagnoses (correctly) that the patient is in insulin shock (needing glucose), while the senior doctor insists she is in a diabetic coma (needing insulin).

In the end, the doctor with the correct diagnosis prevails and the child recovers.

Although there were no overt references to abortion in the script, the Hays Office saw the story as violation of the Production Code; they claim there were indications that Barbara Denham’s illness was brought about by attempted abortion.

Ultimately, MGM cut some lines to accommodate the concerns. However, despite changes, there were protests against the film by moral reformers and religious groups.

Men in White was one of the first films condemned by the newly formed Legion of Decency.

The film was very successful at the box office, earning $890,000 in the US, and $565,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $784,000.


Men in White was presented on the Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre on CBS on July 19, 1943. The 30-minute sanitized adaptation starred Jean Hersholt, James Craig, and Louise Allbritton.


Clark Gable as Dr. George Ferguson
Myrna Loy as Laura Hudson
Jean Hersholt as Dr. Hochberg
Elizabeth Allan as Barbara Denham
Otto Kruger as Dr. Levine
C. Henry Gordon as Dr. Cunningham
Russell Hardie as Dr. Michaelson
Wallace Ford as Shorty
Henry B. Walthall as Dr. McCabe
Russell Hopton as Dr. Pete Bradley
Samuel S. Hinds as Dr. Gordon
Frank Puglia as Dr. Vitale
Leo Chalzel as Dr. Wren
Donald Douglas as Mac
Berton Churchill as John Hudson (uncredited)
Ann Gillis as Flower Girl (uncredited)


Directed by Ryszard Bolesławski
Screenplay by Waldemar Young, based on “Men in White,” 1933 play by Sidney Kingsley
Produced by Monta Bell
Cinematography George J. Folsey
Edited by Frank Sullivan
Music by William Axt

Production company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Release date: April 6, 1934

Running time: 74 minutes
Budget $213,000
Box office $1,455,000