Film Analysis of The Good Dr Adams


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Film Analysis of The Good Dr Adams

Dr. John Bodkin Adams was General Practitioner, whilst working in
Eastbourne in the early 1950's. He became a very prosperous and
wealthy man. He worked with both NHS and private patients, whilst
doing this; he developed strong friendships with both his nurses and
patients. Adams was held in high regard by most of these people, but
most of all his patients. He was seen to be both light hearted and
carefree, but, every coin has its flip side and Adams's was a bad
side, he was very disorganised, he did not posses a briefcase in which
to keep all his important papers, instead he kept them in his inside
blazer pocket so they would get torn, crumpled and battered. When
Doctors give out injections they are supposed to note dose, type and
time the drug was given to the patient at, but Adams did not do this
and it nearly cost him his life. Years passed as the suspicion grew,
and eventually whilst Adams was entering mid-age he was arrested and
charged with the murder of Mrs. Edith Alice Morell, his court case
began on the 19th December 1956.

After the death of Dr. Adams in the mid nineteen eighties, the BBC
produced a film that was directed by Richard Gordon called The Good
Dr. Adams. This film was neither a documentary nor reconstruction of
Adams's life but a dramatization of the events leading up to and
including both his trial for murder and the aftermath of the trial.
This film actually shows its audience Adams giving out lethal doses of
both heroine and morphine, thus putting into your head the question
"Did he kill her and the other patients that died under his care?"

The opening to this film is quite unusual. It has a row of big trees
either side of the screen and then a big, expensive Rolls Royce drives
into view, as this continues slow and mournful music begins to play
and sounds as if it is played by string instruments. From this it cuts

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to a shot of Doctor Adams's his big, fat smiling face and the music
changes with the cut to a happier and faster tune. Everything shown to
us so far tells us that life is going well for this fat, prosperous
middle-aged man. As he drives his Rolls Royce through the busy
Eastbourne streets he waves to the street personnel. Upon his arrival
at the Balmoral nursing home, the matron greets him and they begin to
discuss the death of one of Dr. Adam's patients. He reaches into his
deep pocket and hand the matron a set of crumpled and battered paper;
these are the patient's cremation and death certificates. This is
where we are first shown the fact the he is disorganised, weather this
happened or not is unknown to us, but the director's choice to put
this in the film reacquaints us with the question of the Doctors
competence.

The way this film has been structured is quite a common way that is
used by most of the Hollywood directors during their careers. It is
structured as a tripartite. The first part of this film deals with Dr'
Adams's personality, with the background to the main part of the story
and his life leading up to the trial. The second part of the film is
the main part of it, and it gives quite a detailed account of the
trial. The third and final part of the dramatization of Adam's life is
mainly the aftermath of the trial, but it finishes with another
funeral procession, although it is not another of Adams's patients it
is Adams himself who died in the mid nineteen eighties.

The court case that we see during he film is set in the Old Bailey, in
London, but was actually filmed in Liverpool's major court house. As
the case begins we are shown Adams in his cell, but because he is on
remand he is in his own clothes and able to read newspapers and books.
The meets with his lawyer MR Geoffrey Lawrence and discusses the
forthcoming trial.





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