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Life Begins

(1932 b 71')

En: 6 Ed: 6

This adaptation of Mary Axelson's play about a maternity ward focuses on the risky case of a woman from prison and an entertainer planning to give up her twins for adoption.

In the hospital maternity ward men wait nervously, and Florette Darien (Glenda Farrell) is told x-rays show her twins, which she is giving up for adoption. Jed Sutton (Eric Linden) asks his doctor to give his wife extra care. Grace Sutton (Loretta Young) is brought in with handcuffs and is serving 20 years for murder. She asks Jed not to let her child see the prison. Nurse Miss Bowers (Aline MacMahon) sent Ringer Banks (Frank McHugh) out for ether to give him a change of scene. He comes back frantic but softens up when he sees his wife and baby. He gives his lucky rabbit's foot to Jed. Bowers introduces Grace to the others in the waiting woman's ward. They discuss her killing of a bad politician. A woman (Dorothy Peterson) from the psychopathic ward wanders in and talks with Grace. Florette has gotten drunk. Bowers cajoles the mad woman to give up the baby she took. An Italian (Gilbert Roland) is told the child died and that his wife needs rest. She hears a baby crying and tries to get up; but Grace comforts her as she realizes her baby died. Florette starts singing and is taken out.

Jed and Grace discuss how their baby will be cared for. He pawned his overcoat to buy her a gift. Florette and Mrs. McGilvary (Vivienne Osborne) talk about Florette's twins she has not seen. The Italian has been nursing the twins, and Florette is happy to learn that one is a girl. Bowers tells the waiting Jed to sleep or rest. Florette overhears an obnoxious lady who is planning for twins and sends her away. Florette holds the baby and cries, deciding she will not give up her children. Doctors tell Jed that his wife Grace is in danger. He says save his wife; but Dr. Brett (Preston Foster) and the other doctors follow her wish to save the child by doing a Cesarean section. Bowers tells Jed a girl was born, but his wife died. Jed is upset and refuses to see the child until Bowers tells him that his wife's last words were that she sent the child to him.

This melodrama portrays an urban hospital where the drama of human birth is shared by the women in the ward. Florette's attitude is completely transformed after her twins are born. The death of convicted murderer Grace while her child lives symbolizes rebirth after imprisonment in the body.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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