Dr. Monica

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Original title Dr. Monica
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1934
length 75 minutes
Director William Keighley
script Laura Walker
Charles Kenyon
production Hal B. Wallis
Jack L. Warner for Warner Brothers
music Heinz Roemheld
camera Sol Polito

Dr. Monica is a 1934 American film starring Kay Francis .


Dr. Monica Braden is a successful obstetrician. She is unhappily married to a selfish man who secretly starts an affair with her best friend Mary Hathaway. One day Monica is called to give birth to Mary and practically learns on the approach of the stairs who the father of the child is. At first she doesn't want to treat Mary, but her mutual friend Anna talks to Dr. Monica's conscience and the child is delivered healthy. A short time later, Mary commits suicide out of shame and Dr. Monica, who has made up with her husband, accepts the child as her own.


Like so many roles, the part in Dr. Monica initially planned for Ruth Chatterton by the studio before Kay Francis got him assigned. The film is based on a moderately successful play with Alla Nazimova in the lead role. In the script of the pre-code film, a number of topics are openly addressed that would no longer be possible after the Production Code came into force : extramarital relationships, unwanted pregnancies, single mothers, suicide, abortion. Dr. Monica is portrayed as a successful doctor who finds success and fulfillment in her job and who will continue to practice her profession even after the fade out.

Theatrical release

The production costs were only 167,000 US dollars, which, however, corresponded to the usual editing for a Kay Francis film of the time. In the USA, Dr. Monica raised $ 294,000, with an additional $ 140,000 from overseas. Total revenues were $ 443,000 and the studio's profit ended up being $ 70,962.


The then popular magazine Screenland read:

"There are moments of heartbreaking realism between Miss Francis and Miss Muir [...] but La Francis, as you can imagine, always has the upper hand and this film is no exception."

Other reviewers were a little less impressed and found the material rather difficult for the intended target group.

The Motion Picture Herald stated :

“The plot is limited to the target group of women. But the story is far too difficult and dark for even enlightened viewers. "

Variety endorsed the ruling:

"Success depends solely on the women and it is doubtful whether the majority of girls really want to see a film like this."

Web links

Literature on the subject of pre-code films


  1. There are moments of heartbreaking realism between Miss Francis and Miss Muir […] but La Francis, as you know, always holds her own, and this film is no exception.
  2. Women, because of the picture's plot, are the potential audience. [But the story] is far too deep and heavy for even the more mature adolescents.
  3. [W] omen will make or break this picture and it's not definite that a majority of the girls are going to go for it.