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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
A young WAR NURSE learns to serve the wounded servicemen, whatever the personal cost to herself.
This fine film from MGM illustrates the horrors of World War One by celebrating the American military nurses in France. The horrendous conditions they work under, the very real dangers they face, and the lives they sacrifice for their devotion to service, both gives emphasis to their tremendous dedication, and provides some fine entertainment for the viewer. While the focus remains on the hospital drama the film is at its best; it starts going soft when the romantic escapades of two of the nurses begin to absorb considerable screen time.
Anita Page gives a commendable performance as a convent schoolgirl who quickly loses her innocence to war's terrible reality, and her heart to airman Robert Ames, who also scores as her conflicted lover. June Walker, on the other hand, provides rather colorless appeal when compared to flashy flyer Robert Montgomery, who shows some of the star power that was so soon to make him one of the top draws at MGM.
It's great to see the marvelous ZaSu Pitts, playing a rather downbeat, plain-talking nurse, but the role does not give her enough to do. Actually taking the movie's top acting honors is supporting actress Helen Jerome Eddy, portraying a starchy Kansas schoolmarm who slowly reveals her beautiful heart after joining the medical services.
Hedda Hopper is a tower of strength in her rather small role as the nurses' matron. Marie Prevost is on hand as a brazen Brooklyn babe who also is one of the Ladies in White.
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