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Doctor at Large (film)

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Doctor at Large
Doctor at Large poster.jpg
Original British cinema poster
Directed byRalph Thomas
Screenplay byNicholas Phipps
Based onDoctor at Large
by Richard Gordon
Produced byBetty Box
StarringDirk Bogarde
Muriel Pavlow
Donald Sinden
James Robertson Justice
CinematographyErnest Steward
Edited byFrederick Wilson
Music byBruce Montgomery
Distributed byRank Film Distributors (UK)
Universal-International (US)
Release dates
  • 26 March 1957 (1957-03-26) (UK)
  • 28 July 1957 (1957-07-28) (US)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Doctor at Large is a 1957 British comedy film directed by Ralph Thomas, the third of the seven films in the Doctor series. It stars Dirk Bogarde, Muriel Pavlow, Donald Sinden and James Robertson Justice. It is based on the 1955 novel of the same title by Richard Gordon.

Main cast


Back at St Swithin's, Dr Simon Sparrow loses out to the self-important Dr Bingham for a job as senior house surgeon. Feeling that he has no future as a surgeon, he takes a general practice job in an industrial town. He finds that he has to do most of the work, including night calls, and is also the target of his partner's flirty wife.

He then takes a locum job with Dr Potter-Shine's Harley Street practice, where most of the patients are dotty aristocrats and neurotic society women. Leaving 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 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 Dr Hopcroft, a governor at St Swithin's, from an embarrassing incident. In return, he arranges for Sparrow and Benskin to return to St Swithin's. Sparrow commences advanced surgical training with Sir Lancelot Spratt, whilst Benskin becomes personal physician to a rich Maharajah.


The film was the second most popular movie of the year at the British box office, after High Society.[1][2]


Variety noted "a blending of light comedy and a dash of sentiment, with punch comedy lines providing timely shots in the arm. They’re welcome when they come, but they’re too irregular," with the reviewer concluding, "Bogarde, of course, is the mainstay of the story, but Justice again emerges as the standout character";[3] while The New York Times wrote that despite "signs of fatigue," with the film prescribing the same mixture as before, "If it is diluted, it is still not too hard to take."[4]


  1. ^ LINDSAY ANDERSON, and DAVID DENT. "Time For New Ideas." Times [London, England] 8 Jan. 1958: 9. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
  2. ^ Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32, no. 3. p. 259.
  3. ^ "Doctor at Large". Variety. 1 January 1957.
  4. ^ Weiler, A. h (29 July 1957). "Screen: 'Doctor at Large'; British Comedy Opens at Sutton Theatre" – via
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Doctor at Large (film)
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