The White Angel (1936)

75 or 91 mins | Biography | 4 July 1936

Director:

William Dieterle

Writer:

Mordaunt Shairp

Cinematographer:

Tony Gaudio

Editor:

Warren Low

Production Designer:

Anton Grot

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Although no literary source is credited on the film itself, contemporary sources noted that the film was suggested by Lytton Strachey's biographical essay in Eminent Victorians (London, 1918). Others credited Michel Jacoby as the original author. In a memorandum to the MPAA included in the file on the film in the AMPAS Library, Warner Bros. executive Hal B. Wallis commented that the life of Florence Nightingale was in the public domain and that screenwriter Shairp had done his own research. The MPAA concurred that no source credit was needed. According to Hal Wallis' autobiography, Robert Lord wanted to base the film on Lytton Strachey's study of Nightingale with Josephine Hutchinson as the star. A Brooklyn actress was hired to portray Queen Victoria and British actress Doris Lloyd dubbed her voice. In l9l5, a British version of Nightingale's life, called Florence Nightingale and directed by Maurice Elvey was made. It starred Elizabeth Risdon. In 1951, another British film about the nurse, The Lady with the Lamp , was produced. It was directed by Herbert Wilcox and starred Anna ... More Less

Although no literary source is credited on the film itself, contemporary sources noted that the film was suggested by Lytton Strachey's biographical essay in Eminent Victorians (London, 1918). Others credited Michel Jacoby as the original author. In a memorandum to the MPAA included in the file on the film in the AMPAS Library, Warner Bros. executive Hal B. Wallis commented that the life of Florence Nightingale was in the public domain and that screenwriter Shairp had done his own research. The MPAA concurred that no source credit was needed. According to Hal Wallis' autobiography, Robert Lord wanted to base the film on Lytton Strachey's study of Nightingale with Josephine Hutchinson as the star. A Brooklyn actress was hired to portray Queen Victoria and British actress Doris Lloyd dubbed her voice. In l9l5, a British version of Nightingale's life, called Florence Nightingale and directed by Maurice Elvey was made. It starred Elizabeth Risdon. In 1951, another British film about the nurse, The Lady with the Lamp , was produced. It was directed by Herbert Wilcox and starred Anna Neagle. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 May 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Jun 36
p. 29.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 36
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
27 May 36
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
29 May 36
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
6 Jun 36
p. 56.
New York Times
25 Jun 36
p. 24.
Variety
1 Jul 36
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Billy Mauch
Tempe Piggott
Mrs. Wilfrid North
Houseley Stevenson Sr.
Robert Hale
Jimmie Aubrey
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 July 1936
Production Date:
began 2 March 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 June 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6416
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75 or 91
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2075
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Florence Nightingale, a young Victorian, is stunned to discover that hospital nurses are often women of low morals and no training. Frustrated by her uselessness as a woman of polite society, Florence decides to go to Europe to train as a nurse in order to reform medical care. On her return, however, she finds that no hospital will hire her. When the Crimean War is declared, Florence convinces the British Ministry of War that she should undertake a reorganization of hospitals at the front. Although wartime nurses traditionally have been male, Florence organizes a contingent of thirty-eight dedicated women. Dr. Hunt, the doctor in charge of the hospital at Scutari, thinks these women are merely do-gooders and gives them the most difficult assignments to discourage them, but Florence is equal to any task, and soon conditions are vastly improved for the wounded and sick. London Times reporter Mr. Fuller makes Florence's work known to the British at home, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writes the poem "Lady with the Lamp" in her honor. Hearing reports that conditions at the front are terrible, Florence leaves a few trusted nurses behind and heads off to take charge. At Balaklava, she is faced again with Hunt's ill will. Finally Lord Raglan, the commander in chief, intervenes in her favor. Florence takes her nursing into the trenches where she catches cholera and almost dies. Despite Hunt's efforts to prove that women nurses are incompetent, the death rate under her administration is drastically reduced, and Hunt becomes Florence's reluctant defender. After the war, Florence tries to establish nursing schools in England, but encounters ... +


Florence Nightingale, a young Victorian, is stunned to discover that hospital nurses are often women of low morals and no training. Frustrated by her uselessness as a woman of polite society, Florence decides to go to Europe to train as a nurse in order to reform medical care. On her return, however, she finds that no hospital will hire her. When the Crimean War is declared, Florence convinces the British Ministry of War that she should undertake a reorganization of hospitals at the front. Although wartime nurses traditionally have been male, Florence organizes a contingent of thirty-eight dedicated women. Dr. Hunt, the doctor in charge of the hospital at Scutari, thinks these women are merely do-gooders and gives them the most difficult assignments to discourage them, but Florence is equal to any task, and soon conditions are vastly improved for the wounded and sick. London Times reporter Mr. Fuller makes Florence's work known to the British at home, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writes the poem "Lady with the Lamp" in her honor. Hearing reports that conditions at the front are terrible, Florence leaves a few trusted nurses behind and heads off to take charge. At Balaklava, she is faced again with Hunt's ill will. Finally Lord Raglan, the commander in chief, intervenes in her favor. Florence takes her nursing into the trenches where she catches cholera and almost dies. Despite Hunt's efforts to prove that women nurses are incompetent, the death rate under her administration is drastically reduced, and Hunt becomes Florence's reluctant defender. After the war, Florence tries to establish nursing schools in England, but encounters the same obstacles as in war time. Finally Queen Victoria hears her pleas and presents her with a commemorative brooch, making her the first woman to receive the Order of Merit. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.