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Fingers at the Window

Fingers at the Window(1942)


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Fingers at the Window was screenwriter Charles Lederer's first film as a director and Lew Ayres's last released film for M-G-M. Shortly after the film's previews, Ayres declared himself a conscientious objector to war and, as a result, was confined to an internment camp. By mid-April 1942, he requested a change in status from conscientious objector to "non-combatant," and joined the Army Medical Corps. According to news items in Hollywood Reporter, M-G-M was concerned about adverse public reaction to Ayres's status and re-shot a "Dr. Kildare" film he had just completed, removing him entirely from the cast. According to one news item, by the time Fingers at the Window was released, the "panic" had lessened and the film opened without incident.
       Most reviews appearing in connection with the film's New York City opening made little or no mention of Ayres' problems, although New York Herald Tribune said that it was "probably his last appearance on screen" and Kate Cameron wrote in her New York Daily News review of the film: "Lew's changed status, or the public's curiosity to take a good look at the actor who had the temerity to defy the public opinion and jeopardize his career on the screen for the sake of his principles, must account for the well-filled theatre that greeted Lew."
       Ayres returned to the screen in the 1946 Universal film The Dark Mirror. For additional information on Ayres and the effect of his military status on other films, please consult the entries above for Calling Dr. Gillespie, The Dark Mirror and Dr. Kildare's Victory.