February 4, 2012
I was kibbitzing (is that a proprietary word?), okay, goofing around with a patient the other day and asked if she’d like to be in our new reality show, Survivor Root Canal Therapy, the Mississauga version and for whatever reason, go figure out the mind after sucking in year’s of amalgam dust, wondered, who had played a dentist in the movies and on TV. Lo, swing lo, and behold, a quick Google search and voila; yet another useless and pointless entry for you all to ponder upon…..
Classic Film Guide – Movie Dentists
Doctors of dentistry are not nearly as commonly portrayed in movies I’ve seen as, say, doctors in general. You too may also have noticed that dentist characters, when their profession does appear in a film, are typically in comedies. In addition to the obvious slapstick short features from the silent era and/or popular comedy duos and trios (can you say “The Three Stooges”) of their day, dentists can be found in these feature films:
Greed (1924) – though certainly not a comedy, this artistically celebrated silent drama from director Erich von Stroheim, that was based on Frank Norris’s novel, features Gibson Gowland as John McTeague, a miner who becomes a dentist without a license that takes his friend (Jean Hersholt) Marcus’s girlfriend Trina (Zasu Pitts) for her lottery winnings.
The Iron Horse (1924) – John Ford’s epic historical drama about the building of the continental railroad contains a scene about midway through of an early western dentist in the mobile town of Cheyenne removing a tooth from a rough character that’s not sure he wants to part with it.
One Sunday Afternoon (1933) – I actually saw this one after The Strawberry Blonde (1941), detailed below, and this was the original starring Gary Cooper as Biff Grimes and Neil Hamilton as Hugo Barnstead, with Fay Wray as Virginia Brush and Frances Fuller as Amy Lind. Roscoe Karns plays Biff’s friend in this one, the role George Tobias plays in the remake.