- by ZoŽ
Ferguson is a brain
surgeon, and while in a Latin American country he is told to operate on the
sick dictator. He is told he must kill Farrago (the dictator) on the
operating table, but instead he saves his life. The dictator does die
though, when the palace is stormed by revolutionists.
- by ZoŽ
Cary Grant plays Dr. Eugene Ferguson, a famous brain
surgeon. He and his wife Helen, are on vacation in a nameless Latin American country
(which is on the verge of revolution) when they are kidnapped. The dictator of this
country, Raoul Ferrago (played superbly by Jose Ferrer), has a "sick brain" and
tells Ferguson to operate on him, as he will undoubtedly die otherwise. Ferguson agrees to
do the operation but in the days leading up to it, his wife is kidnapped (again!) by the
revolutionists and used to blackmail the brain surgeon into killing Ferrago on the
operating table. However, Ferrago keeps this from Ferguson who goes ahead with the
operation and saves Ferrago's life. It is only when Ferrago is recovering and Ferguson is
released that he finds out about his wife. By this time the revolutionists have found out
that Ferrago is alive and are about to storm the palace. Ferguson returns to the palace
and confronts Ferrago about a message telling him about his wife that he did not receive.
The palace is, by this time, under attack and the stress, excitement and sudden movement
of Ferrago all lead to him hemorrhaging. Ferguson stands and watches as Ferrago dies, and
he and Helen are reunited.
Although Ferrer and Grant play very well together, I do
have trouble envisaging Cary as a brain surgeon.....as Ferrago says to Ferguson "You
don't look like a brain surgeon to me." This is by no means one of Cary's best films,
but it is powerful and enjoyable, and Cary is suave, charming and devastatingly handsome
throughout. A must for fans of this side of Cary's character!
Film Review - June 21, 1950
- by "Brog"
- submitted by Barry Martin
"Crisis" appears headed for only fair boxoffice trade,
despite the Cary Grant, Jose Ferrer names and some excellent
performances. A melodrama laid in a Latin country, it intrigues
with the lensing of the actual locales and types, but spends too
much time with its social theme to be consistent entertainment for
the average ticket buyer.
Dictatorship versus the right of
man to freedom is the theme, and the script and direction by
Richard Brooks lets it get up on the soapbox too frequently. Wiser
choice would have been to let it ride as a background while
bringing out the more commercial factors of the George Tabori
story. Dialog and situations are ironic and sardonic, giving a
good setting to the plot. There are suspense and tension, too, but
mood is grim where some lightness would have helped.
Footage kicks off with Grant, a
brain surgeon, and his wife, Paula Raymond, vacationing in a
revolution-ridden Latin country. Suddenly the doctor and his wife
are kidnapped by the presidente's troops and taken to the besieged
capital. There Grant finds the dictator-president suffering from a
brain tumor and he is ordered to operate.
Meantime, revolutionaries, led by
Gilbert Roland, exert pressure to have the president, Jose Ferrer,
die under the knife. Preparation and rehearsal for the surgery,
shown in fulsome detail, gives macabre aspect as Ferrer watches
just what Grant's sure scalpel will do in practice on a dummy
head. Roland's men seize Grant's wife but this knowledge is
concealed from him and he goes through with a successful
Irony enters when Ferrer dies
anyway when he tries to put down the revolt before fully
recovering, and the new dictator, Roland, is felled by a stray
bullet just when his forces have won the so-called freedom for
which they have been fighting.
Grant and Ferrer shape their
characters with assurance. Miss Raymond enjoys lesser footage, as
does Signe Hasso, as Ferrer's wife, and Teresa Celli, as one of
the revolutionaries. Film is full of interesting, typical Latin
types. Roland is very good. So is Ramon Novarro, the dictator's
colonel, and Antonio Moreno, his doctor.
Vicente Gomez, guitar soloist,
delivers some fine musical moments in playing Miklos Rozsa's
score. He also does well as one of the rebels. Arthur Freed's production
supervision hits a realistic level in framing the story with
seeming actual locales, and there's a beautiful lensing chore by
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - July 4, 1950
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
A pretty tough spot for a doctor - and for Cary Grant, playing
same - is laid out for sober contemplation in a moderately
entertaining way in Metro's new melodrama, "Crisis,"
which came to the Capitol yesterday. This spot, not enjoyed
by the doctor, is the necessity of operating on the brain of a
Latin-American tyrant by whom he is held in virtual bond and for
whom he has nothing but loathing, considering the patient's
Produced with less generous
indulgence of acting and technical skill, this obviously fantastic
fiction would probably be laughed off the screen, assuming it got
any further than an action-house double-bill. For it is such
a pulp-magazine story in every perceptible way - in plot, in
incident, in spirit and even in the sentiments phrased - that it
might better have made a fast adventure of a "quickie"
hero in some fanciful wilds.
Imagine an American doctor,
honeymooning in a Latin-American land, being suddenly snatched up
by soldiers and hustled off to an inland capital. Imagine
him there being presented to a ruthless dictator and his wife and
being told to examine the dictator to find out what's wrong inside
his head. Imagine the doctor discovering that the patient
has a tumor on the brain and being ordered to perform an operation
which had better be successful - or else.
Imagine these rather lurid
happenings and you have the beginning of this film, which was
written from a story by George Tabori and directed by Richard
Brooks. And then, if you'll imagine further that the doctor
undertakes the ticklish task (after getting a gentle warning from
the opposition that he had better fail), you have a thumbnail
synopsis of the doctor's dilemma when he wields his knife.
With such a penny-dreadful story,
it is remarkable that Mr. Brooks has been able to get any
substance of even passing consequences on the screen. But
some of his film is quite amusing and the two main performances
are good. Mr. Grant makes a nice, sarcastic spokesman for
the democratic ideal and the tyrant is played with loud malignance
and cynicism by Josť Ferrer. Most of the bitter exchanges
between these two are intriguingly sharp, thanks quite as much to
the comedy of situation as of words. And one little scene in
which the doctor lets the tyrant watch him plan his surgery on a
remarkable lifelike model is the source of considerable ghoulish
However, the task of surmounting
the story completely and in full is beyond Mr. Brooks and his
barely adequate supporting cast. Paula Raymond is utterly
feeble as the doctor's discouraged wife, Gilbert Roland is hot as
a conspirator and Signe Hasso makes the tyrant's wife a
moll. All the scenes of Latin rebellion have a slick,
artificial look, and, of course, there is never any question of
what the doctor's resolution will be. Metro, home of young
Dr. Kildare, would never welsh on the Hippocratic oath. The
operation is successful, but the picture, we're afraid, will die.
This is Cary Grant's 55th film and the only one
he did co-starring Paula Raymond, directed by Richard Brooks.
This film in 1950, plus PEOPLE WILL TALK, MONKEY BUSINESS, ROOM
FOR ONE MORE, and DREAM WIFE, all did poorly at the box office,
which convinced Cary Grant that he was no longer a desired actor on
the screen, and this is when he and Betsy packed their things and
took a lengthy boat trip together. I like CRISIS, the story
of Dr. Eugene Ferguson, a famous brain surgeon, and his wife,
Helen, who are vacationing in Latin America. They are
kidnapped by the government there because the dictator, Raoul
Farrago, played by Jose Ferrer, has a brain tumor, and needs an
immediate operation. A rebel leader Gonzales writes a letter
to Dr. Ferguson, stating that he should let the dictator die, and
has Mrs. Ferguson kidnapped on her way home and held as ransom.
However, the letter is intercepted by Mrs. Farrago, who wants her
husband to live. Dr. Ferguson conducts the surgery without
the knowledge that his wife has been kidnapped and Farrago
survives. A few days after the surgery, the rebel leader
storms the palace, and Farrago does himself in because it is too
soon after surgery and he suffers massive bleeding in the brain.
Mrs. Ferguson is let go, but Gonzales, who wants to be the next
leader, takes a bullet in the end and begs for Dr. Ferguson's
assistance. This is an obscure film with Cary Grant, which
has never been put on video format for public consumption.
In it, Mr. Grant is most affectionate towards his wife, which is
very appealing to we great CG fans.
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
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