A newly wealthy English woman returns to Malaya to build a well for the villagers who helped her during war. Thinking back, she recalls the Australian man who made a great sacrifice to aid her and her fellow prisoners of war.
At fictitious Tait University in the Roaring 20's, co-ed and school librarian Connie Lane falls for football hero Tommy Marlowe. Unfortunately, he has his eye on gold-digging vamp Pat ... See full summary »
Elizabeth Kenny, as a young nurse out in the Australian bush discovers an effective treatment for polio, but can't get official recognition or sanction for her techniques and theories. For more than three decades (while she tells her fiancée she can't marry him, and repeatedly confronts the pigheaded orthopedic specialist Dr. Brack), she is prevented from treating acute cases and is ridiculed, while she seeks formal recognition for the efficacy of her treatment.Written by
This film did poorly at the box office for RKO, resulting in a loss of $660,000 ($8.9M in 2017) according to studio records - even doing poorly in Australia. See more »
Whilst addressing a forum of doctors, Sister Kenny is asked whether she remembers the final paragraph of the oath she took to become a registered nurse, and she recounts that paragraph. The real Sister Kenny received no formal nursing training and was not a registered nurse. She enlisted as a nurse in the army in WW1 backed by a letter from a doctor stating she had experience working in a bush hospital and was given the title Sister by the army. See more »
Whatever you do, whatever happens, remember the people are more important than the system. That's true in government, they're fighting a war to prove it. And it's true in medicine. You've got that fight left Elizabeth. It's a big fight, it wont be easy, I wish I could help you.
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Played by a marching band See more »
I wasn't expecting much from a biography of Sister Kenny, an Australian nurse who developed a method of treatment for children stricken with poliomyelitis. I could see it all. One child after breathing his last, "God bless Sister Kenny," while she sobbed at his bedside and held his hand while he slipped away. At the end, after her apotheosis, during a triumphant crescendo, a crippled boy throws away his crutches and cries, "I can WALK, mein Fuhrer!"
But no. Sister Kenny, knowing nothing about infantile paralysis, begins fiddling around with it in the Australian outback and develops a theory that is, in some senses, the exact opposite of the medical establishment's. That establishment is really "pig-headed", as she puts it. Well, they have to be, actually. The experts and their received wisdom can't be successfully challenged by a mere mortal. If they were, they wouldn't be "experts" anymore. She's successful, of course, or there would be no movie. All this takes place during the first half of the 20th century and has Sister Kenny traveling from Australia to Europe and to Minnesota. Old friends die. Children are apparently cured.
There are a couple of things that lift the film out of the ordinary biopic genre. One is Rosalind Russel's performance and the way her role is written by Dudley Nichols. She's impertinent and sarcastic. In fact she reminded me a lot of Margaret Mead, acerbic and distant, putting family life second to her career. Russel has never been better in what is a fairly demanding role.
Another point in its favor is that we are mercifully spared the sobbing and the dying and the children begging for help from a mothering figure. Russel is hardly maternal. Multiple opportunities for pointless and sentimental scenes were eschewed. Her humanity is on display in abundance but it's in code.
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