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U.S., 1944
Written and directed by Preston Sturges
Starring Joel McCrea, Betty Field, Franklin Pangborn, Porter Hall, Harry Carey
Approx. 83 min. 35mm.

Joel McCrea, as W.T.G. Morton, the 19th-century dentist who discovered anesthesia, plays the straight man to the Sturges stock company in a bizarre combination of slapstick and stark drama — told in complicated flashback style that ultimately sets up the electrifying final moment. Despite being shelved and tampered with by befuddled studio execs, it's still a rare personal statement.

Film Forum