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The Good Doctor Bodkin-Adams 1986
Description: In 1956, the ultra-respectable seaside resort of Eastbourne was shocked when a local doctor, John Bodkin Adams, was arrested for murdering one of his elderly patients.
Released: 12 Sep 1986 Director: Richard Stroud Writers: Richard Gordon Actors: Timothy West, Jean Anderson, Dave Arlen, Christopher Banks Genres: Crime
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The Good Doctor Bodkin-Adams Reviews:

Based on a real story, in 1957 in the UK, Dr. John Bodkin Adams treats primarily elderly female patients. He accepts lower pay if his patients remember him in their wills. Many of them do, and he gets a sports vehicle among another things. In most cases, he's administering huge doses of morphine. He's sloppy when it comes to recordsAbout halfway through the movie, he's place on trial for murder, and it does seem he's guilty. However, the nurses' recollections contradict some record ebooks that have been found, and surprisingly things seem to sway in the Doctor's favor. Something that really surprised me was that after the defense rested, the judge gave rather lengthy comments to the jury giving his take on many aspects of the case. I would think in the US those sorts of comments made to the jury by a judge would be illegal, perhaps it's various in the UK.I found this film a bit disappointing particularly since I didn't understand how things changed around in the trial so much. But evidently the truth of the real storyline isn't certain either, and the film perhaps just reflects that?


'Easing the passing' was how Bodkin-Adams liked to excuse the mass serial murders he got away with. That is symbolic of this storyline - smooth, unctuous, oily, lubricated with lies. The result is heightened further by its zone in 50's Eastbourne. Genteel widow country, with Palm Court orchestras playing, and crude accusations strictly unwelcome. Even the barrister begins by saying Adams "I don't wish to upset you..." And the doctor himself is forever bringing God's mercy into the picture. It's enough to create some folks feel like emptying a bucket over the entire smarmy lot of them.No unique genius was required to fill the star role here; almost any bulky boy with a convincing Irish accent would do, and the nice stalwart Timothy West gives you your money's worth, as usual. Less convincing are the different widows, who place on a distinctly amateur present of senility, suggesting nothing of that dark cavern of the mind where so many of them dwell in tortured bewilderment. And Nigel Davenport, quite nice as the detective, fails the "Er..." test, never easy. But that hesitation is bolted-on, not crafted-in.Best of all are Venetia Barrett as the care-home nurse and Gillian Raine as the matron, who seems ready to spill rather a lot of beans, until she conveniently dies, just before the trial, while under Adams' care.As for his surprise acquittal, you won't realise from this movie that it had a lot to do with a top-level gay scandal that required to be hushed-up (as with the long delay in arresting the Kray twins).And the final irony? We actually read about all manner of folks queueing-up to pay for assisted suicide - or 'easing the passing' in the greatest tradition of the nice doctor!


In 1957 John Bodkin Adams was tried for murdering one of his patients. He was found not guilty and, after being removed from the medical register for four years, went back into medical practise and died in 1983.This movie gives a reasonable acc of the primary happenings of the trial, but the presentation is strangely muted. As an example, we see detective Hannam announcing his intention to interview the matron of the nursing home where few of Adams' patients had died. The matron herself dies (after being attended by Adams) before the interview can take zone and her evidence is lost. In fact, the matron had already been interviewed few times and Hannam felt she was close to saying all she knew. Her sudden and unexpected death was a remarkably nice piece of 'luck' for Adams. However, here we do not see Hannam's reaction to the loss of a key witness and its implications are not emphasised. This is typical of the method this dramatisation seems reluctant to create the most of the material.A fresh ver of the storyline has nice potential to deliever perfect drama. The situation files on Adams were opened in 2003. It actually seems he should have killed about 160 of his patients over many years (short of Shipman's 215, but not terrible going). His motivation seems to have been a combination of greed (132 of the 160 left him cash or bonuses in their wills, making him the richest general practitioner in the country) and some sort of God-complex which led him to feel he was genuinely doing nice by 'easing the passing' of his patients (rather like the dear old ladies with the elderberry wine in 'Arsenic and Old Lace').When Adams was brought to trial, however, Britain's National Health Service was in crisis, with doctors threatening to leave and charge cash for their services. To convict a doctor of murder would be terrible politics. As a effect Adams was tried for a death that occurred eight years before, where the body had been cremated and no autopsy was carried out. The prosecution squad allowed the General Medical Council (the doctors' professional organisation) to see its files of evidence, and it's assumed the GMC passed copies to Adams defence lawyers which gave them a large advantage in court.As a effect Adams was acquitted, given a slap on the wrist by being unable to practise for four years, and lived other 25 years.The full storyline would be well worth telling.



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