Night Nurse is a film that feels relatively uneventful for the most part. It’s a fairly by the numbers film that is really old so in a way what is considered by the numbers now, probably wasn’t at the time. Even so I had a good time here but what really made the film fun was the ending. It’s a real sudden ending that is a blast and makes the whole thing worthwhile. I don’t feel as though this film will ever really stand out in a crowd but I had a good time and that’s what counts.
The movie starts off with Lora trying to get a job at the hospital but unfortunately the interview doesn’t go well. The head nurse barely even looks at her since her formal education was not up to the hospital’s standard. Lora gets lucky when she bumps into Dr. Bell outside and strongarms him into letting her join up. It was impressive that she got in but I do remember thinking it was a bit rude the way she practically threatened Dr. Bell. The guy was just trying to have a nice day and she immediately got real aggressive. Well, her days go by smoothly and she even treats the wound of a guy named Mortie. Things get tricky when she is given more of a private position to look after Mrs. Ritchey’s kids who seem rather malnourished and unhappy. The kids’ mother is a drunk and there’s a shady guy named Nick around. They have a private doctor looking after he kids who cannot be questioned and so the whole setup seems rather nefarious. What can Lora do about it?
The tough part is that there isn’t a whole lot that Lora can do at first. She’s a nurse who is brand new to the job and so she has no sway. She’s told that this is just the way their doctor wants things to go in order to cure the kids and without more experience it’s hard for her to just go against that. She needs some kind of captivating evidence and it’s not easy. It’s a good thing that she has a friend in Mortie though because that guy comes in handy.
See, Mortie knows a lot of people all around the city. His connections may not always be above board but he definitely gets results. I like his energy and he really helps Lora out in a lot of ways. One of the most direct ways was when he stepped in later on to face off against Nick. He wasn’t going to let Lora get attacked while he was around and then the ending scene is the cherry on top. While you probably don’t want the films to romanticize the crooks too much, this was a pretty nice take on getting to his good side. Lora helped him out when he was in a pinch and so he quickly returned the favor. It was just nice all around.
Meanwhile Lora is a solid main character because she takes a whole lot of risks in order to help those kids. A lot of other nurses probably would have looked the other way and just justified this by saying that the doctor knows best. Instead Lora went with her gut instincts and helped out here. It was also fun to see her really intimidating the drunk guy who attacked her early on in the film. Her getting some revenge was good since that guy was definitely a creep all the way.
The main villain here is Nick as he has big plans for the future and is willing to murder anyone to achieve his goals. Naturally punching a lady isn’t even beneath him here. If he can push someone around then you better believe he is going to do that. The guy has no scruples and definitely doesn’t hold back. I also have to blame Mrs. Richey a whole lot here because she sort of knows what is going on but doesn’t care because she is drunk 24/7. She’s trying to just completely avoid her life which is the most irresponsible thing you can possibly do as an adult. She had responsibilities and just threw them to the winds.
Lora had a friend in Maloney who made for a good colleague. She ultimately doesn’t do a whole lot when it comes to the actual climax and taking care of the plot but it’s always good to have at least one friend around. Otherwise you’re truly on on your own and that makes everything harder. Dr. Bell was also solid even if he gets pushed around a bit. The guy knows his stuff and was a good ally to have.
In terms of the film being a bit uneventful, I think it could have used more scenes of Lora sleuthing around a bit. Maybe have her looking through files and trying to find evidence of malpractice. She certainly took a lot of risks and still uncovered the crime but it could have helped you feel like the movie was doing more. Skip the scenes of her trying on clothes which basically just exist for low hanging fanservice bait and have more scenes involving the main plot itself. This film is fairly short so you could definitely extend it a little and I don’t believe there would be any issues. It never got boring either but there’s still more you can do here.
Overall, The Night Nurse has aged well for its time though. Lora’s a tough protagonist and I’d say she compares favorably with a lot of the other heroines from back in the day. Most were not quite as proactive as she was. Lora never turned away from danger and just kept on pushing. That’s exactly what you want to see from your nurse because then you know that your kids are safe under her care. As for the milk bath idea that the maid kept suggesting, I could see it being good for your skin but ultimately I doubt it’s much of a treatment in itself. I just can’t see it being some kind of miracle treatment but in desperate times it is important to try out anything if it gives you a chance. I always thought it would be interesting to try once but in general baths aren’t really my thing so I’ll stick to the showers. If we ever get a remake to this film, the most important thing is to keep Mortie’s role almost untouched. He provides a lot of good humor here but also satisfying moments in general.