Quote:,This intelligent drama follows a group of medical scientists as they attempt to find the cause behind the dreaded yellow fever. It is just after the Spanish-American War, and Stone (playing Major Walter Reed) is head of a medical staff stationed in Cuba. Convinced he has found the carrier of yellow fever (nicknamed “yellow jack” by the men), Stone needs five volunteers from the US Army to serve as human guinea pigs. Montgomery heads up the enlisted volunteers, understanding well the unknown dangers of what he is about to undergo. Montgomery is bitten by some mosquitos carrying the yellow fever; three others stay in a “dirty room;” the fifth must sleep in the bed of a dead yellow fever victim. The film wisely concentrates on the ordeals of the five volunteers. This is a story filled with tension and suspense, backed by an underlying humanity. Montgomery (taking the role created on Broadway by James Stewart) is excellent as the lead volunteer, projecting a stoic image as he submits to the unknown. The film is slightly marred by an unneeded romance between Montgomery and camp nurse Bruce. Their scenes together, though well played, seem out of place and detract from the already strong drama. The ensemble is a good one, with Stone, Devine, and Ebsen particular standouts.
The Sidney Howard/Paul de Kruf Broadway play Yellow Jack was transferred to the screen by MGM in 1938. The film is set at the turn of the century, when yellow fever was the Number One killer in Latin America. Army doctors Lewis Stone, Charles Coburn and Stanley Ridges gather in Cuba to attempt to find the cause and cure of the dreaded disease. Five US soldiers–Robert Montgomery, Buddy Ebsen, Alan Curtis, Sam Levene and William Henry–volunteer to expose themselves to yellow fever as a means to test the experimental vaccines. In a very well handled close-up setpiece, the audience discovers long before the medical staff that the humble mosquito is the disease carrier. The “Let me be the first to die” brand of heroics is sometimes hard to take, but otherwise Yellow Jack is inspiring entertainment in the grand old Hollywood tradition.
1.22GB | 1h 22m | 720×540 | mkv