There is a saying that laughter is the best medicine. Sometimes people do not feel well because they are depressed or sometimes their sickness is all in their head and all they need someone to pull them out of all their sadness or thoughts. I have been in both situations several times. Whenever I feel like garbage because I am depressed I stick on either a film or binge like crazy on Mamrie Hart’s videos on YouTube. In the case of watching Mamrie Hart’s videos laughter is definitely the best medicine and I feel ten times better than I did before. All I needed was a good laugh and Mamrie provides it with her jokes, her crazy faces, and her infectious laugh. Films are always there for me as well. When I was away at school and feeling down I would always put a Hitchcock film on because I know the characters in those stories are going through a worse time than I am. Now I have another film that I will definitely put on when I feel down. That film is Harold Lloyd’s 1922 silent Dr. Jack where his character proves that laughter and happiness truly are the best medicine.
There is a girl simply called the Sick-Little-Well-Girl (Mildred Davis). There is nothing wrong with this poor girl but her doctor, Dr. von Saulsbourg, has her father believing she is. The doctor is crooked and keeps on telling the father his daughter is sick because the father has been paying him an exorbitant amount of money. The father’s lawyer tells him that he should really consult another physician since it has been four years since the girl was first diagnosed. Saulsbourg overhears this conversation and in a fit tells the father that the girl needs to be brought to his sanitarium because her condition has worsened.
On the poorer side of town is a doctor Jackson, simply known as Dr. Jack (Lloyd). He is a kind man who helps everyone that needs it. His first call of the day comes from a little girl crying over the phone to hurry over because someone has been hurt. After much bumbling and fumbling to get to the house he finds that the little girl has called him because her baby doll has fallen into a well. Dr. Jack pulls the doll out and pretended to revive it. Dr. Jack’s next call is to an old woman who has been sick with loneliness. He tells her she has a surprise coming at any moment. The surprise is the woman’s son who happens to be the lawyer. Dr. Jack tells him that his mother seeing him has been her best medicine. Dr. Jack then climbs out the window to help two old men across the way. The lawyer sees that Dr. Jack has helped his mother and the older men outside by just being kind and making them happy.
The Sick-Little-Well-Girl and the Saulsbourg are driving back from the sanitarium when she says out loud that she cannot wait to get home. The doctor being an evil bugger extends their time by stopping off in the small town where Dr. Jack lives. The doctor and the Sick-Little-Well-Girl stop off to have lunch. Dr. Jack also stops by the same place and actually sits down at their table since all the others have been taken. Of course he immediately falls for the Sick-Little-Well-Girl and imagine living in a castle on the clouds if he was her doctor and also because he really likes her.
After lunch the lawyer approaches Jack and asks him to come along to the city with him. He does not know he is going to help the Sick-Little-Well-Girl until he gets to her house. Dr. Saulsbourg is beyond infuriated and undermines everything that Dr. Jack gives as his diagnoses. Dr. Jack tries to make the Sick-Little-Well-Girl happy by playing with her and having her get up out of the chair. Saulsbourg has had enough and runs to get the father. The father lets Dr. Jack go. Dr. Jack stays the night until he can leave in the morning. He is sitting downstairs when the Sick-Little-Well-Girl comes down to say goodbye to him. He promises to stay to make her better no matter what. They start playing and making noise and the father and the other doctor come running down. As the men discuss something Dr. Jack runs upstairs and gets a costume going. He makes some noise that makes everyone come running up. Dr. Jack pretends to be some kind of crazy man running around the house and then he slips away into a room and becomes himself. Eventually Dr. Saulsbourg’s nerves cannot handle all the action. He was about to leave until Dr. Jack tells them all that he chased the crazy man out. The Sick-Little-Well-Girl figures Dr. Jack out and puts the costume on herself. She goes up to her father with such a glow after having had so much fun and tells him that Dr. Jack did everything for them. The father then dismisses Dr. Saulsbourg.
Dr. Jack was adorable. It is definitely one of my favorite Harold Lloyd films I have seen. It was so lighthearted and adorable and perfect. To me this is a symbol for what films and their stories are supposed to do they are supposed to make you happy and forget everything that may be wrong in your life or your health for the amount of time they run for. Lloyd’s films usually make me feel better because they are so silly and fun and outrageous. Dr. Jack is definitely a film I suggest seeing even if you do not watch silent films regularly because it will make you feel so much better.
Dr. Jack is available to view in full on YouTube.