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Doctor Against His Will (Eclair)

February 6, 2011

Éclair was a short-lived French owned American production company that was folded into Universal in 1912. 100 years ago today, Doctor Against his Will opened in U.S. theaters. Apparently it is an adaptation of a Molière play, as the advertisement below is keen to point out to would-be exhibitors.

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 4 (28 January 1911): 173.

In case you can’t read this low-quality scan, the ad reads:

DOCTOR AGAINST HIS WILL

(by the great French Writer, MOLIERE)

One of the greatest comedies ever imagined; in this place MOLIERE outdoes himself, and the whole film fairly sparkles with humor.

Synopsis of Doctor Against His Will in The Moving Picture World 8, no. 4, (28 January, 1911): 204.

In order to escape from marrying Horace, and to obtain the consent of her father to marry young Leandre Lucinde pretends to have become dumb. The whole household is thrown into confusion; Lucas and Horace go in search of a doctor who can cure such a strange illness. They happen to pass the house of Sganarelle, a woodcutter, who has just been ill-treating his wife, Martine, in order to revenge herself, tells the strangers that her husband is a most clever doctor, but can only be made to acknowledge his skill by being beaten until he confesses. They proceed to beat the poor man, and at last he tells them that he is a skillful doctor and will cure the sad case. Accordingly he dons a doctor’s coat and hat and accompanies the two gentlemen back to the home of Lucinde. After an examination, the doctor pronounces the girl dumb, and no one doubts the word of so great a man.

Upon leaving the house, Sganarelle meets Leandre, the beloved of Lucinde, and by means of a beating, and a little bribery, Sganarelle consents to carry out the desire of Leandre. He re-turns to the house, disguised as a great physician, taking Leandre with him as his pupil. This learned man recommends that the patient take the air in the garden with his pupil, whilst he discusses the merits of the case with her father. Lucinde is delighted to recognize her lover! However, through a misadventure the whole plot is discovered; Leandre, expelled from the house, and Sganarelle doomed to be hanged for “misrepresentation!” At the crucial moment, Leandre receives word that he has inherited a large sum of money—he is no longer a poor man! He hastens once more to present to Geronte his suit for the hand of his daughter, Lucinde, and as the great objection has been overcome, he is accepted! Thanks to the kindness of Leandre, Sganarelle is pardoned and released, having overcome old Mr. Geronte’s anger, and all ends happily as could be desired.

 

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