Blue Veil, The (1951)

RKO Radio (Wald-Krasna Productions)

In the melodrama “The Blue Veil,” Louise Mason (Jane Wyman) is a war widow who loses her baby. As compensation, she turns to a lifetime of taking care of other children. Donning a nurse's veil, Louise dedicates her life to loving other people's children. She starts out as an attractive woman, but ends up homey and lonely.

In due course, Louise meets a handsome tutor who suggests she runs off to Syria with him. But around train time, he starts mumbling that maybe they have been too hasty–and the deal is called off. Louise goes from one appreciative house to another, from family to family in different emotional relationships with children of different ages.

Louise is contrasted with Annie Rawlins (vet actress Joan Blondell), a fading Broadway singer who neglects her own daughter. At the end, after 30 years of selfless service, Louise is rescued from aged loneliness by one of her ex-clients.

A glorification of the American Nanny, “The Blue Veil” pays tribute to a proxy mother love through the tale of the vocational career of a children's nurse, who descends into poverty, but is rescued by one of her own charges, now grown up.

Oscar Nominations: 2

Actress: Jane Wyman
Supporting Actress: Joan Blondell

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context

This was the third out of four Oscar nominations for Jane Wyman, who won the 1948 Best Actress for “Johnny Belinda.” Surprisingly, despite a lengthy career full of achievements, Joan Blondell received only one nomination.

In 1951, Vivien Leigh won the Best Actress and Kim Hunter the Supporting Actress for Kazan's film version of Tennessee Williams' “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

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