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Barbara Stanwyck Gets Dressed
Standard fare for early Warner Bros. talkies, Night Nurse takes an unsentimental look at the life of a student nurse learning the ropes in a big city hospital. Young Lora Hart (Barbara Stanwyck) befriends kindly Dr. Bell (Charles Winninger) and streetwise classmate, Maloney (Joan Blondell) to become a professional health care worker to all walks of life, from immigrant mothers to bootleggers to society dames.
Naturally, this involves a lot of undressing.
After graduation, Nurse Hart takes a position in a private home to look after two young girls who are suffering from malnutrition. The doctor on the case, Dr. Ranger (Ralf Harolde), is a shady sort who twitches like a drug addict (which, now that I think about it, may be why the actor kept doing that) and forbids Hart from deviating from his strict feeding regimen. To complicate matters, the children's mother is a terrible drunk, who seems to be in a romance with both another terrible drunk, and a sober, but equally terrible chauffeur (Clark Gable), who has taken over the household. The children's rich father is long dead (we know not why, but have Suspicions) and a sister of theirs was killed in an automobile accident (see terrible chauffeur). Dr. Ranger and Clark Gable are plotting to starve the children to death and split their trust fund, presumably after getting drunk mom to walk off a building or something.
Lora and her boyfriend (Ben Lyon), an affable bootlegger she once treated for a gunshot wound in the ER on the down-low, foil the plan and save the girls.
The Breening: Code Violations in Order of Severity
A 71 minute picture about half-naked nurses harassed by interns, drunken playboys, evil doctors, and wooed by bootleggers...
...becomes a wholesome tale of a plucky, fully-clothed nurse, her equally wholesome friend, and her milkman beau helping an invalid mother rescue her children from an evil servant. It should clock in at just under an hour.
I'll do just about anything a movie tells me to do. Unless it tells me wrong...
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