Lora Hart manages to land a job in a hospital as a trainee nurse. Upon completion of her training she goes to work as a night nurse for two small children who seem to be very sick, but something much more sinister is going on.Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During the surgery scene, all the doctors, nurses, and observers are wearing face masks but only their mouths are covered. Their noses are sticking out above the masks. There is no point in wearing a surgical mask if the nostrils are exposed. See more »
[to the unconscious girl wasting away from malnutrition]
Poor little Nanny, nobody cares if you live or die.
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"Night Nurse" is representative of pre-code era films--only slightly risqué by today's standards. It is also representative of the times in the sense that Hollywood seemed to be enamored of the medical profession--both doctors and nurses--during the period, with many such scripts being produced. I think it is due to changing views about medical professionals, instigated by medicine being more science-centered. Audiences probably learned a lot about medical procedures and standards that were somewhat new. This makes such films interesting now from a historic standpoint; and they are interesting as comparisons to today's methods. What we most learn is that standards of care which are en vogue almost always look primitive (and ignorant) by standards only fifty years later.
Joan Blondell and Barbara Stanwyck star in this film about the education, training and practicing of nurses. Stanwyck's character trains in a hospital after no medical education. The girls knock heads with the nurse in charge of their training (and their morals). They deal with the orderlies and physicians who, being male, have a sense of entitlement. Eventually, they get jobs in private care, tending to two young girls who seem neglected.
Clark Gable portrays a belligerent chauffeur with suspect intentions, though his part is a minor one. He plays "sinister" very well, perhaps a clue to his later successes portraying men who are somewhat threatening (like John Garfield).
At one point--as Stanwyck tries to unravel the mystery of the young girls' declining health--the film slows. Otherwise, I found it interesting on many levels. It is fun to see Blondell and Stanwyck as such young women. Even then, Stanwyck commanded the screen with her intensity, when necessary.
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