Anita Page gets the chance to be someone other than the rich socialite or the poor girl from the lower east side. In WAR NURSE, she shines as the teenage social butterfly who signs on, one imagines on a whim, to be a nurse in WWI. She is shipped overseas with a group of other girls who are all anxious to be nurses. At first she is afraid and cries for the easy life she used to have, but quickly becomes a competent nurse. Hedda Hopper, in a role before she became a gossip queen, plays the matron of the nurses. Look for the marvelous wisecracking Marie Prevost, one of the 1920's favorite flappers, and Helen Jerome Eddy as two of the other nurses.
In this film, Anita loses her heart to an American soldier she meets, only to find herself bitterly disappointed later. Suave, sexy Robert Montgomery provides the love interest for a nurse named Babs. Look also for Edward Neugent, playing another of his many "best buddy" roles, as a friend of Montgomery. This movie looks like it's used stock WWI war footage to document the war, but that only adds to the realism. Things look dark, dirty and, well, like a war is going on! Contrast these scenes with one later in the picture of the wild party at the nightclub, and I imagine you have some idea of what things were like at some point during WWI.
Like WATERLOO BRIDGE (1930), this movie provides viewers of today with a look back at the WWI era--it's conventions, morals, worries, and fascinating stories. If you can find this movie, it's worth the time it takes to see it.
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