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At the outbreak of the World War, American women from all walks of life join a volunteer nursing outfit in France. Some volunteer out of a sense of duty while others travel to France because that's where all the men are. The nurses are surrounded by death and disease and must sacrifice their own comfort and safety in service of the wounded men who need them. The soldiers, so far from home and facing an uncertain future, are desperate for female companionship, but not necessarily the kind of romance the nurses are hoping for. Pretty young Joy hits it off with Robin, a fellow New Yorker, while no-nonsense Barbara tries to fend off the advances of Wally, a cocksure young flier. Joy's wartime romance takes an unexpected turn, with serious consequences, and Barbara reconsiders her romantic notions when Wally is sent on a dangerous mission. Written by
Well, this is an idea. I think I'd make a swell nurse.
Just think of the thrill. Holding hands all night with good-looking sick officers.
And can you imagine moonlights nights at no-man's land. Oh, boy.
Yeah, with a general on each arm.
You know, with that it would have it on Paris. They've commandeered our cars and left nothing but 80-year old men on the boulevards.
You, said it! With five million men up there, that's our place, darling.
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I watch a lot of obscure movies, films which 99.9% of people will never watch. It's like discovering a world that only I know about. Occasionally I will come across a hidden gem which I absolutely love, usually because it meets my personal preferences. But then there are movies like War Nurse in which I'm in disbelief that a movie of such quality on many levels could fall tough the cracks of obscurity.
War Nurse follows a group of women who volunteer for nursing duties in France at the outbreak of the First World War. The film is a perfect companion piece to All Quiet on the Western Front, released the same year. Similar to how the young army recruits in All Quiet... have a distorted, glamorised view of what war will be like, so do the nurses at the beginning of War Nurse (some of them are barely into adulthood), expecting to be "holding hands all night with good looking sick officers" and to spend "Moonlight nights up on no man's land, with a general in each arm". Little do they expect the extremely strenuous work, horrendous conditions, the lack of supplies and the near insanity caused by the constant firing of shells.
One scene in which the nurses retreat to bed for night only to be woken up shortly afterwards by the arrival of injured troops during the middle of the night, I can feel just how tired and physically exhausted these people must be. War Nurse is full of powerful moments both big and subtle, such as when a soldier played Robert Montgomery asks a nurse played by Anita Page out on a date, literally seconds after she told him one of his close comrades just died; death is that common of an occurrence
The copy of War Nurse I watched was not of the greatest of quality, so I couldn't always distinguish the cast members apart. Yet I was still fully engaged, and can say the production values are superb. I don't have any information on the film making locations for War Nurse, but the exteriors feature lush countryside backdrops to large scale recreations of baron no man's land with shells constantly exploding.
Get this baby onto the Warner Achieve Collection!
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