The Veil – The Doctors (1958)

vdoctors01In a small Italian shack in a small Italian village, a mamasan or mamacita[1] or whatever the hell they have in Italy is praying hysterically. The bambina Francesca is sick. The womenfolk call for the menfolk to go get the doctor while they weep and pray hysterically.

Dr. Carlo Marcabienti (Boris Karloff) [2] is being visited by his son Angelo Marcabienti (nobody).  Angelo is also a doctor, but a city slicker who regards his father’s patients as peasants, whereas his kindly father regards the peasants as patients.  His father’s maid Maria suggests young Angelo could take his father’s place in the village.  Having been off the farm, he is far happier in the city working at a slick hospital with cool sterile equipment and hot sterile nurses.

Carlo’s driver Giuseppe takes him on a shack-call to a local hypochondriac. While he is away, Angelo tries to convince Maria to tell Carlo he should retire and go to live with in the city with him.  They are interrupted by Tony Bianchi who wishes the doctor to check on his sister Francesca.  Since Carlo is out, Angelo offers to go see her. When Carlo gets back from his call, he sends Giuseppe to give Angelo a ride back since there are gale-force winds outside.

vdoctors14The simple Bianchi family are wary of this whippersnapper looking at Francesca.  They seem to have a hard time accepting that the young man is a doctor.  He examines the child and determines that she requires immediate surgery despite having no insurance. Her father refuses to allow the procedure, still insisting that she needs the real doctor.

When Giuseppe arrives, Angelo sends him right back to get his father.  Carlo arrives and Angelo tells him his diagnosis is diphtheria.  Angelo complains, “What’s wrong with these peasants?  A child choking to death for lack of a simple tracheotomy and they wouldn’t let me touch her!”  Carlo never says a word.  He draws the curtain and he and Angelo get to work.

After the operation, the family rushes in to see Francesca and Carlo returns home. Back at casa de Marcabienti, Angelo thanks his father for showing up when he did.  But Carlo says he has been snoozing all this time.

He wasn’t the only one.


  • [1] Hours of research reveal that mamasan actually refers to an Asian pimp, and mamacita does not refer to a mother, but to a hot tamale.  The phrase I couldn’t remember, mamma mia, is the only correct usage of the bunch.  But I didn’t see the movie.
  • [2] I’ve gained a new respect for Karloff’s acting ability after only four episodes of this series. He has played a variety of characters and not lazily fallen back on his creepy reputation. However, he made zero effort at an Italian accent here. I can only assume that is why they loaded him up with the most Italian moniker since Michelangelo Buonarroti.

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