April 5 in UK Cinema

1957: the third of the seven Doctor film series, Doctor At Large was on general release in UK cinemas.  It stars Dirk Bogarde, Muriel Pavlow, Donald Sinden, and James Robertson Justice.  It was the second most popular movie of the year at the British box office, after High Society.

Dr Simon Sparrow (Bogarde) takes a locum job at a Harley Street practice, where most of the patients are dotty aristocrats and neurotic society women. After three months, he moves to a rural practice where patients pay in kind, ranging from home-grown raspberries to poached salmon.

Meanwhile, Tony Benskin (Sinden) fails his finals – again – and travels to Ireland where he buys a very dubious medical degree. This leads to a post as private physician to a rich elderly aristocratic lady in Wiltshire.

Sparrow and Benskin take a short holiday in France, where they save a governor at St Swithin’s from an embarrassing incident [VCIClassicMovies YouTube Channel]. In return, he arranges for Sparrow and Benskin to return to St Swithin’s. Sparrow commences advanced surgical training with Sir Lancelot Spratt (Robertson Justice), whilst Benskin becomes personal physician to a rich Maharajah.

Other stars in the movie include Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger), Lionel Jeffries, Dandy Nichols (Til Death Us Do Part) and Ronnie Stevens.

1967: American movie The Sand Pebbles (http://www.thesandpebbles.com/) is released in UK cinemas.  Directed by Robert Wise, it tells the story of an independent, rebellious U.S. Navy machinist’s mate, first class  (Steve McQueen) aboard the fictional gunboat USS San Pablo in 1920s China.

The film also features Richard Attenborough, Richard Crenna, Candice Bergen, and Mako. It had been adapted from the 1962 novel of the same name by Richard McKenna (American sailor and novelist; b. 9 May 1913, d. 1 November 1964).

The Sand Pebbles was a critical and commercial success at its general release. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and eight Golden Globe Awards, with Attenborough winning the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.  See the trailer at FoxInternationalHECA YouTube Channel.

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