Night Nurse (1931)

It’s often said that William Wellman’s pre-code melodrama Night Nurse takes a long time to get going – and that there is too much about heroine Barbara Stanwyck’s training as a nurse before she gets involved in the film’s main plot.  I’d have to say I think just the opposite. For me, much of the film’s fascination lies in the opening half hour or so, with its gritty, wisecracking portrayal of life for staff working in a large hospital. I enjoyed the whole movie, which, at just 72 minutes, crams in an awful lot of material – but I felt this opening part was far more interesting and compelling than the later sections where Stanwyck has to battle against a fiendish chauffeur, played by Clark Gable.

It seems as if quite a few movies from the 1930s and 40s follow a pattern of establishing a realistic working background in the opening section, then lurching into melodrama later – Raoul Walsh’s They Drive By Night (1940), starring George Raft and Humphrey Bogart, fits this description, looking at the lives of long distance lorry drivers, as does Wellman’s own Other Men’s Women (1931), about rail workers, which I’ve just reviewed on this blog. Although I love melodrama from this period, I tend to be even more fascinated by the sections focusing more on the characters’ working lives.

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Meet John Doe (1942)

I haven’t had time to write anything new for this blog, but here is another review which I posted on livejournal a while ago…

I was very disappointed by Meet John Doe, as the back of the sleeve of the DVD claimed it was dark and sardonic – but instead it turned out to be one of the most sugary movies I’ve ever seen. I hadn’t seen any Frank Capra before this, and was dismayed by this one, although I have since been won over by first Platinum Blonde and then It’s a Wonderful Life

Spoilers behind the cut

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