Friday, April 06, 2012

The Lamp Still Burns (1943)

I quite liked this little drama, about a female and successful architect who drops everything to become a nurse during WWII. Rosamund John is very likeable as the protagonist, Hilary Clarke. When she decides she wants to help people as a nurse instead, she commits fully with passion and perseverance. I can't help but admire someone willing to give up everything for the hardships and privations nurses-in-training had to go through.

Stewart Granger seems ridiculously young in this movie, and while his is definitely a supporting role, it's still a critical one. His character, Laurence Rains, works with Hilary in the beginning of the film when she's still in her architect capacity, and he's quite taken with her, even though he's engaged to another woman. He next encounters her when there's an accident at his plant, and then things go terribly wrong and he and his fiancee both get caught in an explosion at his plant and end up in the hospital Hilary is training at, under her care. The rest of the story deals with how the love triangle intersects with Hilary's commitment to the nursing profession.

I did not know how harsh and strict the conditions for nurses in England at this time was. The sheer amount restrictions and rules are astounding. Definitely not something I could have done, which just made me admire Hilary even more. I love strong, passionate female characters. She is faced with some horrible decisions that no one should have to make. I quite liked the other nurses as well, and the various patients all had personalities. It's a movie I will definitely watch again at some point.

It's funny. I watch plenty of movie violence and it doesn't bother me, but one long scene in this movie, a surgery -- which shows ZERO gore or blood -- got to me. It was more the sounds and concept of what was going on that wigged me out. I'm sure the fact that it was Laurence Rains on the operating table was a big part of it. Since this wasn't a Hollywood movie and happy endings are not remotely guaranteed in British movies, I had no idea if he'd make it, and worrying over his character was freaking me out. I think that was one of the strong points of this movie: I cared a very great deal about all the characters. The movie made their fates matter to me, and I love that about the film. (And did he make it, you ask? Well, you'll just have to watch the movie!)


  1. I have about an hour before my sister-in-law and I head to the beach, so I decided to pop by a few blogs.

    This sounds like an interesting movie. I love that you are discovering some of Stewart Granger's lesser known works. It's fun seeing our faves in the early stages of their careers!!

    When I was a teenager, one of my career dreams was a nurse. It was a dream which didn't last long, as I came to realize that I don't do well with blood or needles.

    Hope all is well in your part of the country!!

    1. I couldn't be a nurse or doctor either, though I never aspired to it, either. This was definitely an interesting movie and I really want to watch it again.

  2. I watched this movie just now, and shocked to find the straight rules of being nurse then, means to be a nun!