Night Nurse (1931 film)

Night Nurse (1931 film)
Night Nurse

Theatrical poster
Directed by William A. Wellman
Written by Grace Perkins (novel)
Oliver H.P Garrett
Charles Kenyon
(add'l dialogue)
Starring Barbara Stanwyck
Ben Lyon
Joan Blondell
Clark Gable
Cinematography Barney McGill
Editing by Edward M. McDermott
Distributed by Warner Brothers
Release date(s) July 16, 1931 (U.S)
Running time 72 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Night Nurse is a 1931 Pre-Code, Prohibition-era, Warner Bros. crime drama and mystery film directed by William A. Wellman and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell and Clark Gable. The film was considered risqué at the time of its release, particularly the scene where Stanwyck and Blondell are seen in their lingerie.[citation needed] Gable portrays a vicious chauffeur gradually starving two little girls to death after having run over and killed their sister with his car.



Lora Hart (Barbara Stanwyck) applies for a job as a trainee nurse in a hospital, but is rejected by Miss Dillon (Vera Lewis) for not having graduated from high school. Fortunately, a chance encounter with the hospital's chief of staff, Dr. Arthur Bell (Charles Winninger), in an uncooperative revolving door gets that requirement waived. Lora's roommate and fellow nurse, Miss Maloney (Joan Blondell), becomes her best friend.

One day, Lora treats bootlegger Mortie (Ben Lyon) for a gunshot wound and earns his gratitude by letting herself be persuaded not to report it to the police as required by law. He also admires the pretty young nurse.

After she passes her training, Lora is hired for private duty, looking after two sick children, Desney and Nanny Ritchie (Betty Jane Graham and Marcia Mae Jones) at the mansion of their alcoholic socialite mother (Charlotte Merriam), where there is always a party going on. When a drunk guest tries to molest her, Nick the brutish chauffeur (Clark Gable) knocks him out. Then, when she turns down his demand that she pump out the stomach of a very drunk Mrs. Ritchie, he knocks Lora out and removes her to her room.

Lora becomes alarmed by the treatment prescribed by Dr. Milton Ranger (Ralf Harolde) for the children, because she sees that they are being slowly starved to death, but she is unable to get anybody to take her seriously. She quits and takes her suspicions to Dr. Bell. He is initially reluctant to interfere with another doctor's patients, but eventually advises her to return to her job so she can gather evidence. She manages to persuade Dr. Ranger to take her back.

Finally, Nanny Ritchie becomes so weak, Lora fears for her life and tries unsuccessfully get Mrs. Ritchie to show any concern. By chance, Mortie is making a delivery of booze to the perpetual party at the mansion. Desperate, Lora sends Mortie for milk for a bath for the child, a folk remedy recommended by the frightened housekeeper, Mrs. Maxwell (Blanche Friderici). Maxwell gets drunk and confides to Lora her suspicion that Nick and Dr. Ranger are working to murder the children in order to get at their trust fund. Mrs. Ritchie is in love with Nick, and he plans to marry her. After being threatened by Mortie, Dr. Bell shows up and examines the little girl. However, when Bell tries to get the child to the hospital, Nick punches him. Mortie stops Nick from interfering further, and the child's life is saved by an emergency blood transfusion provided by Lora.

The next day, Mortie gives Lora a lift in his car. To allay her worries, he informs her that he told some of his friends that he didn't like Nick. Elsewhere, an ambulance brings a body dressed in a chauffeur's uniform to the hospital's morgue.


According to Robert Osborne, on Turner Classic Movies, the part of "Nick the Chauffeur" was originally intended for James Cagney, but his success in The Public Enemy prevented that, paving the way for Gable.

Cast (in credits order)


Time Magazine highly praised the film and mentioned that it was well photographed, directed and acted and that the quality of the filmed story surpassed that in the original novel.[1]


External links

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