Dr. Jack (1922) starring Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by Harold Lloyd’s Dr. Jack. I’m not a huge fan of Harold Lloyd, but I truly enjoyed Dr. Jack. The basic plot deals with the Sick-Little-Well-Girl (played by Harold Lloyd’s future wife, Mildred Davis). She’s been under the care of an unscrupulous doctor, who keeps her medicated, in the dark (literally) and away from song and laughter. Feeding her father’s fear of the slightest sniffle, and charging him exorbitant fees. The family lawyer doesn’t trust the doctor, and suggests to the father that he bring in another doctor to consult.
At the same time, the audience is being introduced to Dr. Jack (Harold Lloyd), a poor but beloved country doctor, who dashes out on a medical emergency — “Mary’s dying!” This leads to several very funny comic scenes on the way, as he leaves his car running in a circle on his front lawn while he dashes into his house to get his medical bag, moves cows out of the way while the car is running behind them, and being pulled over by a motorcycle cop (who merely wants to give him the remainder of his breakfast that his housekeeper has packed for him). His car overheats on the way, and he falls off the police officer’s motorcycle, borrows a bicycle and falls off that, and runs the rest of the way. Only to find out that “Mary” is a young girl’s doll, who’s fallen into their well. Despite his frustration, he pulls the doll out and gives her resuscitation. It’s a very sweet moment that goes far to set his character in the audience’s eyes. Next, the girl’s mother calls him into the house where “Sonny” is home sick from school. The doctor quickly realizes that the young man is faking. He reveals it by telling his mother that the schoolhouse has burnt down that morning. When Sonny’s reaction gives him away, the soft-hearted doctor comes to the rescue, hiding a pillow in his pants to cushion the blow from the spanking he receives. Leaving there, he goes to an elderly patient, who isn’t responding to conventional medicine, so he’s prescribed something unconventional. A visit from her son, which is the medicine that she needs. The son is the lawyer friend mentioned earlier, who begins to get an idea …
Meanwhile, the Sick-Little-Well-Girl and her doctor are returning home from the doctor’s sanitarium stop in Dr. Jack’s little town for a bite to eat, just long enough for Dr. Jack to join them, irritating the stuffy doctor and starting to fall in love with the Sick-Little-Well-Girl—with his feelings being returned. The stuffy doctor soon pulls her out of there, and Dr. Jack fills his time in a very funny scene by breaking up a poker game upstairs (to keep one of the players from losing his paycheck). Afterwards, the lawyer invites him to come see her, and make his own evaluation of her case.
Once Dr. Jack arrives, the stuffy specialist is offended, and an innocent “examination” turns into an inadvertent kiss, which leads to the girl’s father ordering him to leave early the next morning. The girl, however, is sad that he’ll be leaving, and sneaks down at midnight to say goodbye, and blows him a kiss—which he sees in the reflection of a mirror, and is determined to not give up. In a wild coincidence, a lunatic has escaped from the insane asylum, and Dr. Jack gets the idea to impersonate the lunatic, in order to demonstrate to the girl’s father that she’s fine, and a little excitement can be a healthy thing. It’s a madcap ending, very funny, with numerous laugh-out-loud moments, leading to a happy ending.
I was very pleased with Dr. Jack, and I recommend it highly; I rate it 4 clowns. It’s available as part of The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection.