Archive for August 14th, 2011

by Allan Fish

(USA 1931 72m) DVD1

It’s good for cleaning your teeth

p  William A.Wellman  d  William A.Wellman  w  Oliver H.P.Garrett, Charles Kenyon  novel  Dora Macy  ph  Chick McGill  ed  Edward M.McDermott  md  Leo F.Forbstein  art  Max Parker

Barbara Stanwyck (Lora Hart), Joan Blondell (Maloney), Ben Lyon (Mortie), Clark Gable (Nick, the chauffeur), Charles Winninger (Dr Arthur Bell), Vera Lewis (Miss Dillon), Blanche Frederici (Mrs Maxwell), Charlotte Merriam (Mrs Ritchey), Ralf Harolde (Dr Milton Ranger), Willie Fung (Chinese patient), Marcia Mae Jones (Nanny Ritchey),

If anyone ever wanted to see why the pre-code era – especially those golden years from 1931 to early 1934 – represent the greatest creative flowering in Hollywood’s history, this is a prime exhibit.  It’s not a masterpiece and it was never intended to be, just a typically fast moving, hard-hitting melodrama with sass that seemed to get churned out every week at Warners from either Roy del Ruth, Mervyn le Roy, Bill Keighley, Archie Mayo or Wild Bill Wellman.  Essentially, they’re trifles, but they’re worth nearly all of the prestige bigger budgeted and better known pieces studios churned out later in the decade.  Take the best picture Oscar winners of that decade, the likes of Grand Hotel, Cavalcade, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Great Ziegfeld, The Life of Emile Zola, You Can’t Take it With You; you can keep them all if I can have say del Ruth’s Lady Killer and Blonde Crazy or Wellman’s Heroes for Sale, Wild Boys of the Road or Night Nurse

            Essentially, to paraphrase the old footie maxim, this is a film of two halves.  The first follows would-be nursing applicant Lora Hart as she applies to train to be a nurse at a big city hospital, only to be sent packing by the snobbish matron of nurses.  Luckily for her, on her way out of the hospital, she’s bumped into in the revolving door by Dr Bell, the main staff surgeon, who arranges to get her a place on the training staff.  She’s shown the ropes by another young nurse, Maloney, who she also shares a room with in the nurse’s quarters, and both get in occasional trouble for coming home after lights out.  Avoiding the interests of the lecherous interns, she attracts the attention of a bootlegger who she patches up after a bullet wound and sends on his way. (more…)

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