Night Nurse


Comedy / Crime / Drama / Mystery

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 82%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 7.0 10 3864

hospital pre-code alcoholic nurse roommate

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Joan Blondell as Maloney
Barbara Stanwyck as Lora Hart
Clark Gable as Nick
Allan Lane as Intern

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 / 10

Medical Ethics

One of Barbara Stanwyck's best early starring films is Night Nurse which essentially is two separate stories.

The first is young Barbara in training to be a nurse and teaming up with Joan Blondell, another would be nurse, in a typical Joan Blondell role. Stanwyck is a bit more dedicated to the profession, but she learns from Blondell how to take a more realistic attitude.

The second part of the film concerns Stanwyck being assigned as a private night nurse to some kids who are being slowly starved to death. Something is really wrong when you see malnourished kids in a purportedly wealthy home. Stanwyck suspects something amiss and she's quite right. The doctor Ralf Harolde and the chauffeur Clark Gable are in cahoots in a murderous scheme.

Stanwyck puts her own career on the line to bring some justice and compassion to her charges. In doing so she has to step on some medical toes and question the ethics of who she's working for.

Clark Gable was loaned out from MGM to play the murderous chauffeur and if he hadn't been discovered as a new kind of tough leading man, he would have had a grand career as a character actor playing all kinds of thugs who slug. And slug Stanwyck he does, right on the kisser.

Stanwyck gets some help from breezy bootlegger Ben Lyon who would soon be leaving for the UK with his wife Bebe Daniels where he would have his best success. Earlier in the film Stanwyck kind of winks at the rules where Lyon is concerned and she makes a friend who comes in real handy when dealing with Gable and Harolde.

Lyon is fine, but this seemed to be a part James Cagney would have been perfect for. And Cagney going up against Gable would really have made this a classic.

Reviewed by mark.waltz 7 / 10

Naughty Nurses With Hearts of Gold

...and lingerie's of silk and satin...

Roommates Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Blondell get to show off their fine figures in this pre-code drama of sin discovered in the service world of nursing by a recent graduate of a hospital nursing school. Stanwyck seems to have luck on her side everywhere she goes; Rejected by the hard-nosed head nurse (Vera Lewis) on her way in, she bumps into chief of staff (Charles Winninger) on her way out, and before you know it, she's in training, oiling babies, assisting in surgeries and breaking curfew to have a night out on the town. Then, when she gets on her first case, it's as a private nurse to some mal-nutritioned children, victimized by a sinister chauffeur (a very young Clark Gable) and determined to expose the doctor on the case as a quack who shouldn't only loose his medical license, but end up in jail as well.

Stanwyck's tough persona was established early on in her career, and here, she's nobody to mess with. She slaps down mashers, gets right into Gable's face, and even risks loosing her career by standing up for what she believes is right. This has some delightfully tough dialog, with Stanwyck and Blondell trading some wonderful wisecracks, yet their friendship never suffering even with all the acid dripping. Blondell is a far cry from her matronly character actress days, an absolute delight as the best pal a tough-talking nurse could have, and the two ladies suit each other very well. Gable's character is even more amoral than any of the early roles he played over at MGM, while Charlotte Merriam as the drunken mother of the two exploited children and Blanche Friderici as the seemingly sinister housekeeper offer convincing performances as well. This is topped off by one of the most delightful pay-offs in pre-code, giving Stanwyck's love interest (Ben Lyon) a great exit line.

Reviewed by Ron Oliver 10 / 10

Tough Stanwyck Drama

The young NIGHT NURSE watching two sick little girls finds herself pitted against a gang of heartless criminals.

Barbara Stanwyck is a standout in this taut little film. Independent, resourceful and tough as nails, she pits herself against the bullying authority she encounters in the hospital and the absolute evil she must confront at the bizarre private home where she is sent to work. An intelligent & spirited actress, it was roles such as this which would hasten Stanwyck into becoming one of the biggest film stars of the 1930's.

A fine cast gives Stanwyck ample support. Ben Lyon plays the free spirited bootlegger who takes a shine to Barbara. Brassy Joan Blondell portrays her worldly wise roommate. Charles Winninger brightens his few scenes as a cherubic doctor, as does Edward Nugent as a flirtatious intern. Vera Lewis is properly implacable as the stern head nurse and Blanche Frederici adds a note of strangeness as a distraught housekeeper. Not yet a star, Clark Gable is very effective as a menacing chauffeur.

Movie mavens will recognize Willie Fung as a Chinese patient & Marcia Mae Jones as the sick child who needs the milk bath--both uncredited.

The Pre-Code status of the film is readily apparent. Stanwyck & Blondell are viewed in their lingerie as often as possible and Stanwyck must suffer some mighty rough handling from various villains in the movie. Capping it all off, Barbara exits the film with her new boyfriend, an unrepentant & unpunished crook involved in everything from thievery to murder, a situation certainly not allowed just a few years later.

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