Stairway to Light (1945)

Approved  |   |  Short, Drama, History  |  3 November 1945 (USA)
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The story of 18th Century French physician Dr. Phillipe Pinel, whose initiated enlightened, humane treatment of the mentally ill.



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Title: Stairway to Light (1945)

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Complete credited cast:
John Nesbitt ...
Narrator (voice)


Part of MGM's Passing Parade series, the focus is on Dr. Phillippe Pinel, head of an asylum during the time of the French Revolution. Pinel couldn't believe what he found on his first inspection of the facility. Several of the inmates had been there for 30 years or more and lived in horrible conditions, a prison rather than a hospital. He believed that the mentally could be cured and within two years of over a hundred inmates were released. His work was not popular and he was beaten on the street only to be rescued by one of the inmates he had released years before. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama | History






Release Date:

3 November 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Passing Parade No. 54: Stairway to Light  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Narrator: The iron gates built to keep madmen in served once to keep madmen out.
See more »


Follows A Way in the Wilderness (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

An Oscar winning one-reel short from an extended series of shorts done by MGM

Back when going to the movies was practically an all-day affair, studios made short subjects and most studios had regular series of shorts that followed a basic framework and usually had the same narrator, writers, etc. One of the best and most successful was The Passing Parade, which took its stories from real life, either everyday people in everyday life or footnotes in history, such as the subject of this Oscar winning short. Narrated in an almost flat, somewhat folksy style by John Nesbitt, it tells of the early efforts of one French doctor to help the criminally insane. A very effective and memorable piece, Turner Classic Movies runs this as filler regularly, particularly in March as part of their "31 Days of Oscar" feature. Highly recommended.

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