Night Nurse (1931) Dir. William Wellman

Tonight I watched for the first time a really great classic, Night Nurse, and 1931 pre-code Warner Bros. feature.  The great thing about this movie is that it is very funny, but its also got some emotional weight to it.  It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell, and Clark Gable playing a villain!  The story follows a newbie nurse played by Stanwyck who winds up working in hospice for the family of a sick little girl, only there’s a scam going by the child’s stepfather (Gable) in an effort to make the little girl sicker.  This film was before Clark Gable reached heightened popularity as a movie heartthrob.  Here he’s a particularly nasty and intimidating character.  His screen time is fairly small, but he makes the most of his presence and puts in a memorable performance.  
As I said, this is also a pre-code (pre-production code, meaning a production code was established years later as a set of censorship guidelines).  Here we get plenty of scenes of Blondell and Stanwyck dressing and undressing, lots of drunk people, crimes of booze running during prohibition, negligent parents, and a male protagonist character who gets away with murder!  How cool is that?    Some of those pre code films are really a lot of fun to watch and this one is no exception.  

I’ve been busy doing some storyboard work this week, so I have to keep my post short for now, but this is a great movie worth checking out.  I see its available on Netflix, and that disc comes with a documentary “Thou Shalt Not”, which is all about precode Hollywood films.  I’ll probably rent the disc just to watch that documentary.


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