Sunday, 5 December 2010

George Bernard Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma

Lowry mentions George Bernard Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma in his filmscript for Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night in a sequence where the character Dick Divers walks past cinemas and theatres on Broadway in New York where this play is showing.

The Doctor's Dilemma is a play by George Bernard Shaw first staged in 1906.

The Doctor's Dilemma, a comedy about egocentricity and medical ethics, was first produced in New York by Arnold Daly in 1915. The first major revival was by the Theatre Guild in 1927 with a remarkable cast that included Helen Westley, Dudley Digges, Earle Larimore, Fontanne, and Lunt as Dubedat.

In the play a number of dilemmas crop up, of which the main one is that of a doctor who has developed a new cure for tuberculosis, but has only enough of it for one patient. He then has to choose which patient he is going to give it to: a kindly poor medical colleague, or an extremely gifted but also very unpleasant young artist with a young and vivacious wife with whom the doctor is somewhat in love, which makes it even harder for the doctor to separate his motives for the decision. The extensive preface to the play points out that there is another dilemma: poor doctors are easily tempted to perform costly but useless (and in the best case harmless) operations or treatments on their patients for personal gain. "Can this man make better use of his leg than I of fifty pounds?" Read more on Wikipedia

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