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Angel of Mercy (1939)

Approved | | Short, Biography, Drama | 20 May 1939 (USA)
Story of Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross.


Edward L. Cahn (as Edward Cahn)


Herman Boxer


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Cast overview:
John Nesbitt ... Narrator


It historically has been a man's world. But in 1861, seeing young soldiers fighting in the American Civil War die unneedlessly due solely to lack of timely medical care in the army hospitals, Clara Barton, rallying other women around her, fought to have women working in army hospitals to prevent those unneedless deaths. But the war comes and goes with some army nurses among the dead due to no fighting men recognizing the sanctity of hospitals as a safe place for medical aide, and Barton's fight still balked at by many men in power as army hospitals a place not suitable for the weaker sex. Barton retires to Switzerland, where a new international organization has been formed to provide humanitarian relief, much of it during war time and much of it being medical aide. The United States is one of the few countries who has not recognized the organization, which bears as its symbol a red cross. But Barton returns to the United States and with the assistance of old relationships and a few ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Biography | Drama



Did You Know?


Re-released in 1942 as 'Flag of Mercy' with new framework footage relating it to America's involvement in World War Two. See more »


The narrator states Clara Barton was turned away at the recruiting office by a sergeant, but the character is wearing the insignia of a Captain, an officer. See more »


Followed by American Spoken Here (1940) See more »

User Reviews

Passing Parade
30 May 2009 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Angel of Mercy (1939)

*** (out of 4)

Part of MGM's Passing Parade series with John Nesbitt, this film takes a look at Clara Barton (Sara Haden) who would become known for starting the Red Cross. The film starts off talking about how it's a "man's world" and how women don't belong in wars. This leads up to the Civil War where many men are killed because there wasn't anyone there to take care of them. This leads Haden to try and help and although it does take years, the Red Cross becomes a symbol known around the world. This is another winning entry in the series, which always manages to tell interesting stories about famous things that some people might not know about. I personally didn't know how the Red Cross was founded so this led to me finding this short extremely entertaining from start to finish. Seeing the U.S. want to stay out of the program for so long was a real head-scratcher but the film remains entertaining.

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Release Date:

20 May 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Passing Parade No. 5: Angel of Mercy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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