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Theatre / Men in White

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Men in White is a 1933 stage play written by Sidney Kingsley.

It is a medical drama set in an urban hospital. The protagonist is Dr. George Ferguson, an idealistic and gifted young physician and protege of highly respected Dr. Hochberg. Dr. Ferguson is talented and driven, and his medical career holds great promise. However, he has a fiancee, the lovely and charming Laura, who is getting tired of coming in second to his medical duties. Dr. Ferguson's devotion to his job threatens his relationship.

None other than Elia Kazan, who would later go on to great fame as a motion picture director, was in the original Broadway cast of Men in White as an orderly.

In 1934 Men in White was adapted into a film starring Clark Gable and Myrna Loy, directed by Richard Boleslawski, adapted by Sidney Kingsley from his own play.



  • And the Adventure Continues: The play ends with George, himself weeping over the news of Barbara's death, telling a mother over the phone that her son will be fine.
  • As You Know:
    • Hochberg greets Dr. McCabe with "And how is Dr. McCabe today?"
    • And Laura greets her father with "How's my dad today?"
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Apparently Barbara went to one to get an abortion, three months after her encounter with George. She comes into the hospital suffering from septic shock from a botched procedure.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Poor Barbara is dead, and George and Laura are broken up, although there's a little Maybe Ever After hope. But George will continue his studies and become the doctor that Hochberg wants him to be.
  • Buxom Is Better: Pete admires Miss Simpson, an X-ray tech.
    Pete: Luscious! She had one of those tight black silk dresses....And a pair of mammaries! Mm!
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  • Comic Relief: While George is serious and driven, his buddy Pete seems to be more concentrated on telling jokes and picking up women than on medicine.
  • Good Doc, Bad Doc: Dr. Cunningham is a private practitioner who believes in doing as little as possible while cashing patients' checks. Good Doc Dr. Ferguson saves a patient who Cunningham nearly kills when he misdiagnoses insulin shock as diabetic coma.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: Scene 1 ends with a woman being brought in on a "rolling stretcher" with a lacerated throat, "bleeding terribly", causing the doctors to snap into action.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Dr. Levine comes from a wealthy Jewish family, but his mother disowned him after he married a Gentile.
  • Married to the Job: Source of the dramatic tension, as the demands of George's job push his relationship to the edge.
  • Maybe Ever After: Laura and George have broken up, but she suggests that maybe he can look her up again once he finally gets through his studies.
  • Medical Drama: Possibly the Ur-Example, centering on the struggles of an idealistic young doctor.
  • Mentor Archetype: Gray-haired Dr. Hochberg, who is grooming George for a grand career.

Tropes found in the 1934 film:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Starts with a scene in which a construction worker is injured on the job, and then whisked to the hospital, in order to establish the setting.
  • Door-Closes Ending: Ends with Laura walking away after bidding George goodbye, then another doctor closing the door to the office as George takes a call about a patient.
  • Fainting: Laura does this while Barbara's in surgery, just after finding out that George is the reason that Barbara's in surgery.