The Citadel is Metro’s second British-made production. It’s an effective drama based on A.J. Cronin’s novel which generated quite a controversy in medical circles due to presentation of its subject matter. Major change for picture is a switch to a happy ending.
Story details the adventures of a young physician (Robert Donat) who starts out with high ideals and determination to help humanity. When Welsh miners object to his research to prevent tuberculosis in the community, he goes to London, gets in with a coterie of mulcting doctors who brush aside medical ethics in their chase for money. Snapped out of his new surroundings by a bungling operation on his best friend, the young physician discards the shams of money for his original ideals.
Donat gives a most seasoned performance. Rosalind Russell turns in a sympathetic portrayal of the young wife who struggles through at his side, and gets him back to his ideals after the London experiences.
Picture is studded with many brilliantly human and dramatic sequences. Success of Donat in reviving a stillborn baby in a worker’s home is a real heart-puller; chiller is episode where entrapped miner’s arm is amputated in cave-in; and vivid drama springs forth when Donat stands by while his best friend dies during bungled operation performed by the incompetent, social-climbing surgeon.
1938: Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actor (Robert Donat), Screenplay