WriterA. J. Cronin, Fred Guiol, Rowland Leigh Release dateFebruary 9, 1940 (1940-02-09) ScreenplayP.J. Wolfson, Rowland Leigh, Fred Guiol CastCarole Lombard (Anne Lee), Brian Aherne (Dr. Robert S. Prescott), Anne Shirley (Lucy Lee), Julien Mitchell (Matthew Bowley), Robert Coote (Dr. Caley), Brenda Forbes (Nora Dunn) Similar moviesPatch Adams, Infection, The Men, Night Nurse, Dr. Alemán, Johanna
Vigil in the night preview clip
Vigil in the Night is a 1940 film (produced and distributed by RKO Pictures) based on the 1939 serialized novel Vigil in the Night, by A. J. Cronin. The film was produced and directed by George Stevens and stars Carole Lombard, Brian Aherne and Anne Shirley.
In Great Britain, Vigil in the Night nurse Anne Lee (Carole Lombard) takes the blame for a fatal error made by her sister Lucy (Anne Shirley), also a nurse, and is forced to leave the hospital where they both work. She moves to a large city where she procures a job at another hospital and falls in love with Dr. Robert Prescott (Brian Aherne). Overcoming obstacles and personal tragedy along the way, Anne and Prescott work together to bring about better conditions for the care of the sick as well as fighting a smallpox epidemic which threatens to overwhelm all those around them.
The European version of the film has a slightly different ending in recognition of the Second World War because of the pro-Nazi censorship of anti-Semitic Hollywood censor, Joseph Breen The United States, still fraught by pro-Fascist Isolationists trying to stop all American help to the British under the assault of Nazi aggression had not yet entered at the time of its release: British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's voice is heard on the radio in Dr. Prescott's office explaining that Hitler has refused to withdraw his troops from Poland and that, therefore, a state of war exists between Germany and Great Britain. The American version of the film contains no such radio message and a shot of Anne Lee and Dr. Prescott reacting to the news was deleted.
Carole Lombard as Anne Lee
Brian Aherne as Dr. Robert Prescott
Anne Shirley as Lucy Lee
Julien Mitchell as Matthew Bowley
Robert Coote as Dr. Caley
Brenda Forbes as Nora Dunn
Rita Page as Glennie
Peter Cushing as Joe Shand
Ethel Griffies as Matron East
Doris Lloyd as Mrs. Martha Bowley
Emily Fitzroy as Sister Gilson
Donnie Dunagan as Tommy (uncredited)
Alfred Newman reused his theme music in The Fighting Lady (1944) and Hell and High Water (1954).