Dr. Jack (1922)

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(Image via Doctor Macro)

The Sick-Little-Well-Girl (Mildred Davis) has been treated by Dr. Louis von Saulsbourg (Eric Mayne) for many years. He’s really struck it rich by treating her — constant new diagnoses, and stays at his expensive sanitarium.

Dr. Jackson — also known as simply “Dr. Jack” (Harold Lloyd) — has methods just the opposite of von Saulsbourg. Rather than recommending expensive treatments or medications, he’s a common sense doctor, recognizing that many of his patients’ issues are small or non-medical and can be solved easily with sunshine or excitement.

When he’s called to consult von Saulsbourg’s patient, excitement is just the solution he sees to her problems. Can he cure the “Sick-Little-Well-Girl” with his simple treatments, and perhaps win her heart, too?

Fred Newmeyer directs 1922’s Dr. Jack. The film is available on Hulu through the Criterion Collection (for now, anyway), with music by Robert Israel.

Dr. Jack is largely a simple tale of good vs. evil: Jack the good, and Saulsbourg the scheming (and pricey!) evil. They exist at extreme ends of the spectrum, Jack working “7 am to 7 am” and barely collecting a cent for his services, while Saulsbourg milks his clients for all they’re worth, regardless of whether they’re actually ill.

The differences between these two doctors are played brilliantly for comedic effect, with extra laughs coming from Jack’s every-day mishaps and adventures prior to working with the “Sick-Little-Well-Girl.”

(Image via silentfilm.org)

(Image via silentfilm.org)

The stand-out feature of the film is its fantastic, extended chase scene. Dr. Jack stages a fight… with himself, in a crazy wigged disguise, fooling a house full of people. It’s undoubtedly the film’s highlight and amazing comedic work on Lloyd’s part.

For another nice touch, the opening credits are made to look like a prescription card!

Though I wouldn’t consider Dr. Jack among Lloyd’s very best or my personal favorites from the comedic genius, but it is a delightful way to spend an hour, completely with a cutesy romance… and a twist involving an escaped criminal? Yeah, there’s a lot going on here! Especially for such a brief film, but it sure is fun to watch. The score: 3.5/5

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