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The Fight for Life (1940)

Approved  |   |  Drama, History  |  7 March 1940 (USA)
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An interne witnesses the death of a young mother in a maternity hospital delivery room. Disturbed that he might have overlooked something that could have prevented the death, he goes to a ... See full summary »



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Title: The Fight for Life (1940)

The Fight for Life (1940) on IMDb 5.1/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Myron McCormick ...
Storrs Haynes ...
The Teacher
2nd Teacher
Dudley Digges ...
Head Doctor
The Young Woman
Dorothy Urban ...
The Grandmother
Effie Anderson ...
The Receptionist


An interne witnesses the death of a young mother in a maternity hospital delivery room. Disturbed that he might have overlooked something that could have prevented the death, he goes to a maternity clinic in a city slum in order to learn more about the mortality of motherhood and to find new ways to prevent it. Written by Jim Beaver <>

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Drama | History






Release Date:

7 March 1940 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


As revealed in "Ramblin' Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie" by Ed Cray, singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie had a small acting role in this movie, thanks to his friend Will Geer, who's also in it. See more »

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User Reviews

Curious mix of fact and fiction from the most respected US documentary film maker.
6 March 2003 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Pare (`The Plow That Broke the Plain') Lorentz' try to break into Hollywood is unsatisfactory both as the medical training film that they seemed to think they were making and as drama. It stops half way through - presumably to make it a suitable length for a short and then starts up again with another home birth.

It is still interesting to watch all this talent stretching themselves - McCormick, later in `The Hustler', Crosby who filmed De Kruif's `Arrowsmith' and `High Noon' - not to mention the B movies of Maury Dexter and Roger Corman and Gruenberg who scored `All the Kings Men.'

A lot of the playing is stilted, even by skilled performers like Digges, and the film loses all credibility with its bloodless natal deliveries but the seriousness of purpose of the makers registers and their filming of the Chicago slums remains graphic and alarming.

Suzanne Davenport's 1977 "Chicago Maternity Hospital" gets stuck into this one mainly for it's not crediting female medicos with the achievement - other times, other customs!

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