1931 Warner Brothers

Directed by William A. Wellman. 
Screenplay by Oliver H. P. Garrett, based on the novel by Dora Mag. 
Dialogue by Oliver H. P. Garrett and Charles Kenyon. 
Photography by Chick McGill. 
Editor: Ed McDermott. 
Release date: August 8, 1931. 
Running time: 72 minutes.

CAST: Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell, Clark Gable, Charles Winninger, Vera Lewis, Blanche Erederici, Charlotte Merriam, Edward Nugent, Rolf Harolde, Wafter McGrail, Allan Lane.

SYNOPSIS: Lora Hart (Barbara Stanwyck), a young nurse, is hired by Mrs. Ritchey (Charlotte Merriam), a wealthy and drunken widow, to act as a private nurse to her children. Mrs. Ritcheyis past indifference to their welfare has allowed the other members of the household to hatch a plot to starve the two little girls to death, thereby getting possession of a trust fund left to them through marriage of the chauffeur, Nick, to the mother.

When Lora discovers the scheme she seeks the help of a breezy bootlegger, Mortie (Ben Lyon), whom she had attended to when he had been shot in the shoulder. lie comes to her rescue after she is pretty badly man-handled by the rough chauffeur (Clark Gable), who warns her that she will be killed if she tells what she knows.

Maloney (Joan Blondell), a close nurse friend to whom Lora confides, tells her to tell the police, but she is afraid and leaves the situation to Mortie. The bootlegger is in love with Lora and with a few gangland friends disperses the scheming mob. The grateful bra confesses her love to Mortie as he resolves to give up his illegal business.


Sidney, Variety: Clark Gable goes through socking everybody, including Miss Stanwyclc, and is finally done away with by inference. What legitimate performances crop up in the footage seem to belong to Miss Blondell and Charlie Winninger as the hospital head. Miss Stanwyck plays her dancehall type of girl on one note throughout and is shy of
shading to lend her performance some color . . . Production is adequate, but Wellman has 'way overplayed the indifference to the welfare of her children, as done by Charlotte Merriam, who is the wealthy and drunken mother.

Hollywood Reporter: The best things about Night Nurse are its title and cast names plus the Misses Stanwyck and Blondell stripping two or three times during the picture. Otherwise, it's a conglomeration of exaggerations, often bordering on serial dramatics.

Film Daily: Strange but amusing mixture of hospital drama, crook activities and comedy, with good work by fine cast . . . Joan Blondell, in the rote of a sister nurse to Miss Stanwyck, walks oil with a big slice of the honors as a result of her wisecracking and comedy antics, all of which register solidly. Lyon's bootleg role also is in a comedy vein, and there are plenty of laughs throughout.

Movie Mirrors: Adapted from Dora Macy's novel, a nurse discovers an attempt to starve children to gain a trust fund and saves the children.

At a hospital Dr. Bell (Charles Winninger) helps Lora Hart (Barbara Stanwyck) get a job as a nurse without a diploma. Miss Dillon (Vera Lewis) tells her the rules, and Hart rooms with Maloney (Joan Blondell). They sneak in late, and Hart finds a skeleton in her bed. Dillon puts them on the night shift, and Hart gets in bed with Maloney. Hart treats the wounded arm of a bootlegger known as Pal (Ben Lyon) but doesn't report the bullet wound as required by law. In surgery Maloney helps Hart stay conscious when the patient dies. They graduate and take the Florence Nightingale pledge.

Hart works as night nurse for a rich family. The day nurse Maloney tells her the children are anemic and only get milk. Hart learns their sister died, and they tell her the chauffeur Nick is horrid. The children say they are hungry, but Mrs. Maxwell (Blanche Frederici) tells Hart not to believe them. A drunk gropes Hart against her will. Nick (Clark Gable) comes in and knocks him out. When Hart tries to call a doctor, he slugs her and carries her to another room. Hart tells Dr. Ranger (Ralf Harolde), who denies there is a problem. She says they are starving and resigns. Hart goes to Dr. Bell, who won't intervene because of "professional ethics." He advises her to go back on that job, and she apologizes to Dr. Ranger. Mrs. Ritchey (Charlotte Merriam) gives Hart $100.

At a drugstore Hart sees her Pal, who notices she got hit. He says he quit the rackets, but she doesn't believe him. Mrs. Maxwell tells Hart she is worried, and Maloney says that Nanny is worse. Hart looks for Mrs. Ritchie at a party and finds her drunk. Hart pleads that Nanny is ill; but Mrs. Ritchie says she is a dipsomaniac. Hart knocks down drunk Mack, while Mrs. Ritchie passes out. Hart calls Dr. Bell and leaves a message that Nick overhears. Pal comes in looking for Nick, delivering booze. Hart asks him to help and sends him out for milk, which he steals, so they can try the milk bath Mrs. Maxwell keeps recommending. A drunk Mrs. Maxwell tells Hart about Nick and Mrs. Ritchie's custody of the children's trust fund. Hart accuses Nick of murder with Dr. Ranger. Nick chases Mrs. Maxwell out. Dr. Bell comes in and advises a blood transfusion. Hart offers her blood. Nick punches Dr. Bell; but Pal makes Nick leave. Dr. Bell tells Hart that Nanny will recover. Hart says she is going to the police, and Pal takes her, saying he told his friends he didn't like Nick, who is taken to the morgue.

Notorious for showing the nurses changing clothes, this dramatic story portrays a bootlegger as helpful and a woman victimized with the use of alcohol. The real heroine is the courageous night nurse, who is not afraid to risk her career to help people in need.

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