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Vigil in the Night

(1940 b 96')

En: 5 Ed: 6

Based on A. J. Cronin's novel, a nurse finds her sister has doubts about following that profession; but she finds a good doctor in another hospital.

In a hospital nurse Lucy Lee (Anne Shirley) relieves her sister Anne Lee (Carole Lombard). While Lucy is eating, the boy dies, because the breathing tube became blocked. Anne takes the blame by saying it was when she was there. Anne is dismissed. Lucy apologizes to Anne and says she was not meant for nursing. Anne goes to a poor hospital and is hired. Dr. Robert Prescott (Brian Aherne) gets a boy to walk. Anne watches Dr. Prescott operate and notices an error. Wealthy Matthew Bowley (Julien Mitchell) thanks her with a purse and ten pounds. Nurse Glennie (Rita Page) is hired and recognizes Anne and is about to tell Matron East (Ethel Griffies) when the bus overturns. Anne treats the wounded and calls for Dr. Prescott, who takes her home for tea. He says Bowley could provide a new hospital but does not. In the morning Anne says she dreamed they will get the new hospital. Lucy arrives with her new husband Joe Shand (Peter Cushing) after getting her certificate.

Anne is promoted. Bowley tells the board he will try to raise money. Then he tells Anne he is lonely; but his wife (Doris Lloyd) comes in and reprimands both. Dr. Prescott tells Bowley he'll go elsewhere for money. Anne says good-bye to Dr. Prescott. Anne finds Joe has no work, and Lucy left him. Anne learns that Lucy is suspected in a suicide. At the inquest Lucy testifies. Nursing home matron Henrietta Sullivan is questioned by Dr. Prescott about Dr. Anderson, and Lucy is exonerated.

Lucy and Anne volunteer for small pox duty. A nurse collapses with the disease. Anne's roommates volunteer as does Glennie. Bowley asks Anne about bills for what she ordered, but Dr. Caley (Robert Coote) takes responsibility. Mrs. Bowley tells her husband that their son has small pox, and he is brought into isolation. Dr. Prescott tells Bowley they warned him. Lucy nurses their son. Dr. Prescott is pleased with Bowley's gift. Anne tells Dr. Prescott she is going to London; but Lucy gets sick and dies. Anne cries. Joe blames Anne, who takes it philosophically. In the final scene Anne and Dr. Prescott go off to treat miners hurt in an accident.

This melodrama explores the sacrifices and dangers of the noble nursing profession.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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