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The Hasty Heart (1949) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • In the final days of WW2, in a M.A.S.H. unit in Burma, a severely wounded corporal watches in dismay as fellow soldiers pack-up to return home but a caring nurse and five remaining soldiers bring him solace.

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  • It's 1945, Burma, the day the war is over! For many this means they've survived and will be going home. But not for everyone. A Scottish soldier, Corporal Lachlan "Lachie" MacLachlan is the victim of a wound to the lower back on this day. He's moved to a M.A.S.H. unit and undergoes surgery. As time goes by he begins to recover and watches, in dismay as soldiers pack up and head for home. The doctors have told him he needs to remain "for observation". The Colonel takes Sister Parker, the unit head nurse, into his confidence and tells her that the real reason Cpl. MacLachlan can't go home is because the wound he sustained destroyed one of his kidneys and the other one is defective and will shut down in three to four weeks. He asks her to put Lachlan up with some other soldiers she has waiting to go home so that he can spend his last days with friends. But Cpl. MacLachlan wants nothing to do with friends and prefers his own privacy to "idle chat". He's a hard nut to crack and their work is cut out for them to make him as comfortable as possible.

  • In Burma on the penultimate day of World War II, Cameron Highlander Lachlan 'Lachie' MacLachlan is seriously wounded and transported to a local military hospital. He seems to have recovered from his wounds but appearances can be deceiving. The hospital commander asks nursing Sister Margaret Parker and the five remaining soldiers in her ward to befriend Lachie as he is dying and has only a few weeks to live. Lachie, who is not aware of his prognosis, is a proud man who wants no help from anyone. Slowly however, relationships are formed and Lachie begins to appreciate friendship, something he has never had with anyone.


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Synopsis

  • The Hasty Heart is set in a WW II convalescent ward of a British General Hospital in the rear of the Assam-Burma. It revolves around Lachlen (Richard Todd), a bitter and arrogant Scottish sergeant, who is initially unaware that he is dying. During the course of the play, he slowly responds to the other men from different cultures among them Ronald Reagan as Yank.

    The ward is attended by Sister Margaret (the British term for nurse) played by Patricia Neal, who balances the atmosphere of healing and depression with ethics and optimism. As the men slowly break through this very lonely man's wall of loneliness, we, like them, become more empathetic toward him as he learns the value of friendship in the final days of his life.

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