Directed by John Ford, Arrowsmith was Colman's most prestigous sound film to date. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Sinclair Lewis, it tells the story of idealistic Martin Arrowsmith who goes to the West Indies to find a cure for the bubonic plague.
Martin's wife is played by stage star Helen Hayes in her second film. Both Hayes and Colman were given high praise by critics of the time; for Colman Arrowsmith was the first of his 'talkies' to showcase the image and virtues that would be evident in all of his finest film roles. Director John Ford said: "He did everything so easily that no one acknowledged what a superb actor he was...but he was one of the greatest actors I have ever known."
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