Night Nurse

Watch Night Nurse

  • Passed
  • 1931
  • 1 hr 12 min
  • 7.0  (4,449)

Night Nurse is a classic Pre-Code Hollywood movie from 1931, directed by William A. Wellman and starring the legendary Barbara Stanwyck in the lead role. The gripping storyline revolves around a young, determined nurse named Lora Hart, who lands her first job as a night nurse for two neglected children of a wealthy alcoholic heiress. Along with her loyal friend and fellow nurse, Maloney (Joan Blondell), Lora tries her best to give the children a better upbringing, while also fighting against some shady characters who are plotting to harm them for their own selfish interests.

The film is a perfect example of the gritty, realistic, and socially-conscious cinema that emerged during the early days of the sound era. The script, written by Oliver H.P. Garrett and Charles Kenyon, tackles issues such as child abuse, domestic violence, medical malpractice, and corruption in a blunt and uncompromising manner, defying the censorship codes that would soon come to dominate Hollywood.

The movie opens with a shot of a young woman, Lora, standing on a bridge, contemplating suicide. She is saved by the charming and handsome ambulance driver, Mortie, played by Ben Lyon, who takes her to the hospital where he works. To her surprise, Lora finds out that Mortie is a friend of her childhood sweetheart, Dave, who is now an aspiring lawyer, but has fallen on hard times due to his addiction to alcohol. Dave tries to persuade Lora to marry him, but she refuses, determined to make something of herself first.

Soon after, Lora is hired as a night nurse by the wealthy widower Nick Charles, who is desperate to find someone to take care of his two young daughters, Desney and Nanny, who are suffering from mysterious illnesses. Lora is shocked to discover that the girls have been neglected and mistreated by their abusive and alcoholic mother, Mrs. Charles, who is cared for by her equally depraved chauffeur, Nick's longtime associate, and former criminal, Mortie.

Lora's attempts to give the girls proper medical care and attention are met with hostility and obstruction from Mrs. Charles, who resents Lora's interference and suspects that she may uncover some of the family's darkest secrets. Lora's suspicions are confirmed when she witnesses Mortie sneaking in and out of the house at night, carrying mysterious packages and meeting with unknown accomplices.

Despite the danger and opposition, Lora and Maloney refuse to give up on the girls, and seek the help of Dave, who is now working for Nick as a private investigator, to uncover the truth about Mortie and his associates. Together, they unravel a web of deceit, corruption, and murder, involving Nick and his cronies, who are attempting to drug and kill Desney and Nanny for their inheritance.

The climax of the movie is a thrilling and suspenseful sequence, where Lora, Maloney, and Dave race against time to save the girls from the villains, who have locked them up in a dark and sinister room, filled with poisonous gas. The scene is a testament to the skill of the talented cast and crew, who manage to create a palpable sense of danger, urgency, and menace, without resorting to cheap thrills or special effects.

Overall, Night Nurse is a powerful and entertaining movie that showcases the talents of some of the most iconic stars and filmmakers of the era. Barbara Stanwyck delivers a performance that is both tough and vulnerable, showcasing her range as an actress, while Joan Blondell provides the perfect foil as her wisecracking, loyal friend. Ben Lyon, as the dashing Mortie, is charming and suave, but also menacing and dangerous, adding depth and complexity to his character. The supporting cast, including the child actors, are all excellent, giving the film a sense of authenticity and realism.

In conclusion, Night Nurse is a must-see movie for anyone interested in classic Hollywood cinema, social commentary, and gripping storytelling. The film is a testament to the power of cinema to confront difficult and uncomfortable truths, and to provide audiences with a thrilling and thought-provoking experience that transcends time and space.

Night Nurse is a 1931 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 12 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0.

Night Nurse
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 12 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (4,449)