“Night Nurse” is a pre-code Hollywood film released in 1931. The film is directed by William A. Wellman and stars Barbara Stanwyck, Clark Gable, and Joan Blondell.
The story follows Lora Hart (Barbara Stanwyck), a nurse who takes on a new job as a night nurse for two young girls, who are being cared for by their wealthy but neglectful mother (Charlotte Merriam) and their alcoholic father (Ben Lyon). Lora quickly realizes that the children’s health is in danger due to their father’s heavy drinking and the neglect of their mother, who is more interested in partying than caring for her children.
With the help of her friend and fellow nurse Maloney (Joan Blondell) and a young ambulance driver named Nick (Clark Gable), Lora tries to protect the children and expose the neglect and abuse they are suffering. However, their efforts are met with resistance from the family’s lawyer and a corrupt doctor who are determined to keep the truth hidden.
As Lora fights to save the children, she also finds herself falling for Nick, but their relationship is complicated by his criminal past and the danger it poses to her and the children.
The film is notable for its portrayal of social issues such as child neglect and corruption, as well as its strong female lead and frank depiction of sexuality and violence. It was also one of the first films to feature the pairing of Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Gable, who would go on to become two of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
William A. Wellman
Grace Perkins, Oliver H.P. Garrett, Charles Kenyon
Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell