Movie Mirrors Index

A Child Is Born

(1939 b 80')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Based on Mary Axelson's play and the 1932 film Life Begins, various women give birth in a hospital.

At a maternity ward Ringer Banks (Johnnie Davis) hears his wife screaming, and nurse Miss Bowers (Gale Page) sends him on an errand. Florette LaVerne (Gladys George) asks Harry to let her return to their act. Dr. Lee (Henry O'Neill) warns Jed Sutton (Jeffrey Lynn) that his wife may have a tough time. Prisoner Grace Sutton (Geraldine Fitzgerald) got twenty years for murder and is brought in with cop Reilly (Edward Gargan), but Bowers lets Jed visit her. Bowers tells Ringer that he is a father, and Ringer tells his wife Helen their child is in an incubator; she gets upset. Dr. Brett (John Litel) tells Florette she'll have twins, but she doesn't want them. Dr. Brett suggests adoption. Gladys Norton (Nanette Fabray) is eighteen. Mrs. Kempner (Gloria Holden) has little chance of a living baby. Ringer and Jed are drunk, and Riley stops Jed by force. A psychopathic woman (Fay Helm) wanders into maternity. Gladys and Johnny Norton (Johnny Downs) are afraid of being separated for being too young. Police question Jed, but Riley does not press charges. Florette got drunk on her "candy." Dr. Lee tells Bowers that Grace is weak and needs Jed; so Bowers goes out looking for him.

The crazy woman takes a baby to Grace; but the child belongs to Nettie West (Spring Byington). Grace persuades the woman to hand her the child, and Nettie lets Grace hold the baby. Bowers gets Jed past Riley to see Grace, and he gives her a shawl after pawning his overcoat. As expected, Mrs. Kempner's baby died. Grace collapses. Florette learns that Harry got a new partner. She is tipsy and imitates Nettie and then plays out Grace's murder. Grace faints and is taken out. She says good-bye to Jed and says she does not want to live. Johnny tells Jed that Gladys had a boy. Dr. Brett says that Mrs. Kempner can keep seeing the babies of Florette. Dr. Lee is the best doctor but has his eyes injured. Florette hears two women talking about the mother of the twins and decides to keep her babies. Dr. Cramm (George Irving) says they can only save Grace or her child. Jed says he wants his wife to live. Bowers says Grace wants the child to live, and Dr. Cramm agrees to save the baby first. Florette says that she will let Mr. and Mrs. Kempner take care of her child when she travels. The mother of Gladys forgives her for eloping. Bowers tells Jed that he has a baby, but Grace died, saying the child is her gift to him. Jed resists but then accepts his baby girl.

This remake portrays a convicted criminal giving up her life, a dancer accepting motherhood, a young couple contrasted to an experienced mother, and a childless couple finding a child they can love.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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