IMDb > Sister Kenny (1946)
Sister Kenny
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Sister Kenny (1946) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Dudley Nichols (screen play) &
Alexander Knox (screen play) ...
View company contact information for Sister Kenny on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 October 1946 (USA) See more »
A woman made for love . . . but whose service to humanity became her destiny!
Elizabeth Kenny, as a young nurse out in the Australian bush discovers an effective treatment for polio... See more » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Polio. See more (10 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Rosalind Russell ... Elizabeth Kenny

Alexander Knox ... Dr. McDonnell

Dean Jagger ... Kevin Connors
Philip Merivale ... Dr. Brack

Beulah Bondi ... Mary Kenny
Charles Dingle ... Michael Kenny

John Litel ... Medical Director
Doreen McCann ... Dorrie
Fay Helm ... Mrs. McIntyre
Charles Kemper ... Mr. McIntyre
Dorothy Peterson ... Agnes
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
James Burke ... Undetermined Minor Role (scenes deleted)
Karolyn Grimes ... Carolyn
Teddy Infuhr ... Boy (scenes deleted)
Jane Allen ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Gertrude Astor ... Doctor (uncredited)
Walter Baldwin ... Mr. Ferguson (uncredited)
Richard Bartell ... Doctor (uncredited)
George Barton ... Doctor (uncredited)
Mary Bayless ... Nurse (uncredited)
Joseph E. Bernard ... Ticket Taker (uncredited)
Patricia Berry ... Small Role (uncredited)
Bonnie Blair ... Waitress (uncredited)
Lee Bonnell ... San Francisco Reporter (uncredited)
Egon Brecher ... Frenchman (uncredited)
Bruce Brewster ... Small Role (uncredited)
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. Johnson (uncredited)
Bobby Burns ... Parent at Clinic (uncredited)
Al Choals ... Doctor (uncredited)
Sally Cleaves ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Connie Conrad ... Doctor (uncredited)
Edith Conrad ... Doctor (uncredited)
Jennifer Cook ... Baby (uncredited)
Judy Cook ... Baby (uncredited)

Ellen Corby ... Hospital Scrub Woman (uncredited)
Jeanne Criswell ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Jackie Curry ... Doctor (uncredited)

Sheryl Deauville ... Singing Child with Polio (uncredited)
Earl Dobbins ... Farmer (uncredited)
Gloria Donovan ... Girl (uncredited)
Charles Dorety ... Reporter (uncredited)
Ralph Dunn ... Brisbane Policeman (uncredited)
Melinda Erickson ... Girl (uncredited)
Betty Fairfax ... Nurse (uncredited)
Franklyn Farnum ... Doctor at Medical Conference (uncredited)
Harry Flannery ... Commentator (uncredited)
Monica Folts ... Girl (uncredited)
Francis Ford ... Patrick O'Shea (uncredited)
Jack Gargan ... Reporter at Dock (uncredited)
Nancy George ... Small Role (uncredited)
Wilda George ... Doctor (uncredited)
Betty Gillette ... Nurse (uncredited)
Mary Gordon ... Mrs. Gordon (uncredited)
Vincent Graeff ... Boy (uncredited)
Clara Griggs ... Small Role (uncredited)
Mischa Gutterson ... Doctor (uncredited)
Bobby Hale ... Cabby (uncredited)
Charlie Hall ... Airport Attendant (uncredited)
Charles Halton ... Mr. Smith (uncredited)
Carl Hanson ... Doctor (uncredited)
Lumsden Hare ... Dr. Shadrack (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Doctor at Medical Conference (uncredited)
Eddie Hart ... Doctor at Medical Symposium (uncredited)
Alf Haugan ... Doctor (uncredited)
Mame Henderson ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Len Hendry ... Doctor (uncredited)
Sue Ann Hockett ... Girl (uncredited)

Gloria Holden ... Mrs. McDonnell (uncredited)
Beulah Hubbard ... Doctor (uncredited)
David Hughes ... Doctor (uncredited)
Brandon Hurst ... Mr. Todd - Landlord (uncredited)
Lloyd Ingraham ... Farmer (uncredited)
Warren Jackson ... Doctor (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Reporter (uncredited)
Nancy Lee Kane ... Baby (uncredited)
Edward Keane ... Reporter (uncredited)
Tom Kingston ... Doctor (uncredited)
Connie Lamont ... Nurse (uncredited)
Ivy Lane ... Small Role (uncredited)
Buddy Langeston ... Boy (uncredited)
Bertha Ledbetter ... Nurse (uncredited)
Alan Lee ... Alan - the Farm Hand (uncredited)
Ruth Lee ... Mother (uncredited)
Nan Leslie ... Nurse (uncredited)
David Levitt ... Doctor (uncredited)
Orley Lindgren ... Boy (uncredited)
Doris Lloyd ... Matron (uncredited)
Leota Lorraine ... Minor Role (uncredited)
James Loucke ... Farmer (uncredited)
Sam Lufkin ... Photographer (uncredited)
Irene Mack ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Thomas Martin ... Doctor at Medical Conference (uncredited)
David Martinson ... Cobbler (uncredited)
Janet Sue Marx ... Girl (uncredited)
Eric Mayne ... Doctor (uncredited)

Frank McClure ... Doctor at Medical Symposium (uncredited)
Larry McGrath ... Doctor (uncredited)
Harry McKim ... Boy (uncredited)
Ruth Miles ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Daphne Moore ... Waitress (uncredited)
John Moss ... Doctor (uncredited)
Diane Nance ... Girl (uncredited)
Myra Nelson ... Nurse (uncredited)
Georgie Nokes ... Gordy (uncredited)
B.G. Norman ... Boy (uncredited)
Noralee Norman ... Girl (uncredited)
Bob O'Connor ... Doctor (uncredited)
Anne O'Neal ... Nurse (uncredited)
Vivien Oakland ... Secretary to Dr. Gideon (uncredited)
Charles Pawley ... Orderly (uncredited)
Bob Pepper ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Jackie Pfender ... Boy (uncredited)
Hilda Plowright ... Saleslady (uncredited)

'Snub' Pollard ... Man at Barn Dance (uncredited)
Allan Ray ... Photographer (uncredited)

Frank Reicher ... Dr. Chuter (uncredited)
Donna Lynne Rodgers ... Small Role (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Elizabeth's Dance Partner (uncredited)
Eli Schmudkler ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Dick Scott ... Reporter (uncredited)
Barbara Smith ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Warren Smith ... Doctor (uncredited)
Paul Stanton ... Dr. Gideon (uncredited)
Larry Steers ... Doctor at Medical Conference (uncredited)
Robert Strong ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Tex Swan ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Bob Templeton ... Intern (uncredited)
David Thursby ... Angus Frazier (uncredited)

Regis Toomey ... New York Reporter (uncredited)
Ray Toone ... Doctor (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ... Doctor at Medical Conference (uncredited)
Clare Verdera ... Mother of Boy (uncredited)
John P. Wade ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Nellie Walker ... Farmer's Wife (uncredited)
Ray Walker ... Doctor at Minneapolis Lecture (uncredited)
Elena Warren ... Nurse (uncredited)

Directed by
Dudley Nichols 
Writing credits
Dudley Nichols (screen play) &
Alexander Knox (screen play) and
Mary McCarthy (screen play)

Sister Kenny  based on "And They Shall Walk" by (as Elizabeth Kenny) &
Martha Ostenso  in collaboration with

Produced by
Edward Donahue .... associate producer (as Edward Donahoe)
Dudley Nichols .... producer
Original Music by
Alexander Tansman  (as Alexandre Tansman)
Cinematography by
George Barnes (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Roland Gross (edited by)
Art Direction by
Albert S. D'Agostino 
William Flannery  (as William E. Flannery)
Set Decoration by
Harley Miller (set decorations)
Darrell Silvera (set decorations)
Makeup Department
Fred B. Phillips .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
John Burch .... unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Harry D'Arcy .... assistant director
Sound Department
Clem Portman .... sound
Earl A. Wolcott .... sound
Special Effects by
Vernon L. Walker .... special effects
Linwood G. Dunn .... optical effects (uncredited)
Paul Eagler .... transparency projection shots (uncredited)
Albert Simpson .... matte paintings (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Eddie Pyle .... second camera (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Travis Banton .... costumes: Rosalind Rossell's
Music Department
C. Bakaleinikoff .... musical director
Earl B. Mounce .... music mixer (uncredited)
Other crew
Jack Gage .... dialogue director
C.J. Davis .... research director (uncredited)
Valerie Harvey .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
116 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Australia:G | UK:A (original rating) | USA:TV-G (TV rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #11315)

Did You Know?

The Wikipedia article on Elizabeth Kenny lists notable individuals who had been polio patients of Sister Kenny. Among those listed are Alan Alda, Dinah Shore and "Rosalind Russell's nephew." It is known that Rosalind Russell had campaigned long to portray Sister Kenny in film. Her nephew's treatment may have been a factor in that interest.See more »
Factual errors: Whilst addressing a forum of doctors, Sister Kenny is asked whether she remembers the final paragraph of the oath she took to become a registered nurse, and she recounts that paragraph. The real Sister Kenny received no formal nursing training and was not a registered nurse. She enlisted as a nurse in the army in WW1 backed by a letter from a doctor stating she had experience working in a bush hospital and was given the title Sister by the army.See more »
Happy Birthday to YouSee more »


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Polio., 7 November 2013
Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA

I wasn't expecting much from a biography of Sister Kenny, an Australian nurse who developed a method of treatment for children stricken with poliomyelitis. I could see it all. One child after breathing his last, "God bless Sister Kenny," while she sobbed at his bedside and held his hand while he slipped away. At the end, after her apotheosis, during a triumphant crescendo, a crippled boy throws away his crutches and cries, "I can WALK, mein Fuhrer!"

But no. Sister Kenny, knowing nothing about infantile paralysis, begins fiddling around with it in the Australian outback and develops a theory that is, in some senses, the exact opposite of the medical establishment's. That establishment is really "pig-headed", as she puts it. Well, they have to be, actually. The experts and their received wisdom can't be successfully challenged by a mere mortal. If they were, they wouldn't be "experts" anymore. She's successful, of course, or there would be no movie. All this takes place during the first half of the 20th century and has Sister Kenny traveling from Australia to Europe and to Minnesota. Old friends die. Children are apparently cured.

There are a couple of things that lift the film out of the ordinary biopic genre. One is Rosalind Russel's performance and the way her role is written by Dudley Nichols. She's impertinent and sarcastic. In fact she reminded me a lot of Margaret Mead, acerbic and distant, putting family life second to her career. Russel has never been better in what is a fairly demanding role.

Another point in its favor is that we are mercifully spared the sobbing and the dying and the children begging for help from a mothering figure. Russel is hardly maternal. Multiple opportunities for pointless and sentimental scenes were eschewed. Her humanity is on display in abundance but it's in code.

Nice job.

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