Night Nurse (1931) | Barbara StanwyckNight Nurse (1931)

Genre: Crime/Drama/Mystery
Director: William A. Wellman
Writers: Oliver H.P. Garrett , from the novel by Dora Macy
Producers:  Harry Cohn
Cast:   Barbara Stanwyck as Lora Hart,Ben Lyon,Joan Blondell, Clark Gable
Release Date: 8 August 1931
Synopsis: A nurse discovers that the children she’s caring for are murder targets.
Distributor: Warner Bros.

Ray’s Review


Barbara was back at Warners for the first of five films with director William A. (Wild Bill) Wellman. In Night Nurse, she is ably supported by Joan Blondell as her wise cracking fellow probationer. As a young inexperienced nurse, she has a hectic few hours dealing with a drug addicted doctor, a drunken mother, a murderous chauffer, and a plot to kill two young children for their inheritance. James Cagney was originally cast to play the chauffer, but after his success in Public Enemy, the producers decided that he was now a too important a name for such a minor part. So they cast another up and coming young actor in this small but showy role.

The first time that I ever heard Barbara as herself was in 1964 on a popular Sunday afternoon radio show, Movie-Go-Round.

Every week former actor Ben Lyon would phone up a star in Hollywood to reminice about the good old days. He had plenty to talk about with Barbara as he was her leading man in Night Nurse, playing a friendly bootlegger.

Barbara said that she would never forget the day a tall dark young man walked onto the set dressed in a chauffers uniform, and all the girls in the company practically fainted. They were both impressed with his manners, and how professional he was, but Barbara commented on the fact that he was very quiet, and only spoke when spoken to, and unlike them, didn’t even have a chair with his name on.

She also recalled how when it opened at the Strand Theatre on 48th Street that the posters headlined the star names, Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Gable in Night Nurse. She also remembered a few days later after the newcomer got all the best reviews, that the posters added another name to the credits – with CLARK GABLE!

I guess that the posters shown here must have been designed long before the film was released because his name is nowhere to be seen, although he gets fourth billing on the film credits.

Barbara said that she had the great pleasure of working with Gable again 20 years later when he was known as “The King”, adding, “and deservedly so, Ben”. They co starred in MGM’s To Please a Lady, and she said that his quiet manner was exactly the same, “it hadn’t changed a bit in all those years.”

Note: Ray’s Review features in this website courtesy of Ray Johnson, as published in britmovie.co.uk website’s forum legendary Barbara Stanwyck thread. Ray also manages the best forum on Barbara Stanwyck, Yahoo Groups’s Miss Barbara Stanwyck, click on the Forum menu item to be redirected.