The Citadel (film)

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The Citadel
Directed by King Vidor
Produced by Victor Saville
Screenplay by Ian Dalrymple
Frank Wead
Elizabeth Hill
Emlyn Williams
Based on The Citadel
1937 novel
by A. J. Cronin
Starring Robert Donat
Rosalind Russell
Ralph Richardson
Rex Harrison
Music by Louis Levy
Charles Williams
Cinematography Harry Stradling
Edited by Charles Frend
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • 3 November 1938 (1938-11-03)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $1,012,000
Box office $987,000 (Domestic earnings)
$1,611,000 (Foreign earnings)

The Citadel (1938) is a British film based on the novel of the same name by A. J. Cronin, first published in 1937. The film was directed by King Vidor and produced by Victor Saville at Denham Studios, with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer distributing the film in the UK and the US.


Dr. Andrew Manson (Robert Donat) is an idealistic newly qualified Scottish doctor dedicated to treating the Welsh miners suffering from tuberculosis in the Welsh mining village of Blaenely and is an apprentice to Dr. Page (Basil Gill). Initially, he has many lofty scientific goals, but meets local resistance in his research. After his laboratory and notes are destroyed by the miners, he moves to London, taking working class patients in impoverished conditions. There, his purpose erodes when a chance encounter with a medical school friend, Dr. Frederick Lawford (Rex Harrison) leads to his quiet seduction by an unethical medical establishment, treating rich hypochondriacs. Christine (Rosalind Russell), his wife tries to set him back on the original path. Dr. Philip Denny (Ralph Richardson), Manson's best friend and still working for improved working class health, dies at the hands of an incompetent, social-climbing surgeon.

Differences from other versions[edit]

The film is based on the novel, but departs from it in certain vital respects. In the original text the character of Christine Manson is killed off in a road accident at the point when she and her husband have begun to address problems in their relationship. The incident involving the incompetent surgeon occurs, but it is a minor character who dies. Denny survives, and the understanding (not related in the book but implied) is that he and Manson went into practice together.[1] The 1982 BBC adaptation of the novel stays closer to the original text.



The film was nominated for Oscars in four categories: Best Picture, Best Actor (Robert Donat), Direction, and Adapted Screenplay.

The film won the Best Picture Award from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review. It is a New York Times Critics' Pick and is also listed in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.


  1. ^ Cronin, AJ.The Citadel, Gollancz 1938.

External links[edit]

Streaming audio