Arriving at the tail end of the G-man and gangster cycle, Dr Socrates hasn’t the vigor of some of its predecessors, but the constant and basic threat of violence is always present.
Plot [from a story by W.R. Burnett, adaptation by Mary C. McCall Jr] departs from what is customary in the gangster school, in that it stars neither the gunman nor the officer of the law, but makes both subservient to a country doctor.
The chief gangster in this case is a Dillinger type of gent who terrorizes a section of the middle west. The young physician is adopted as the gang’s medical man, and he takes a chance because he needs the money. But when the gang grabs his girl he goes on the offensive.
For Muni, Socrates is an easy role, calling for little or no emotional work. For an actor of his calibre the soft-spoken doc seems a minor effort. Ann Dvorak plays a hitchhiking girl who gets innocently tangled with the mobsters and brings romance to the small town sawbones.