Vigil in the Night (1939): George Stevens Drama, Starring Carole Lombard, Brian Aherne, Anne Shirley

George Stevens directed Vigil in the Night, a drama based on the 1939 serialized novel Vigil in the Night by A. J. Cronin, starring Carole Lombard, Brian Aherne and Anne Shirley.

In Great Britain, nurse Anne Lee takes the blame for the fatal error made by her sister Lucy, also a nurse. As a result, she 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.

Overcoming obstacles and personal tragedy along the way, Anne and Prescott work together to bring about better care of the sick, fighting a measles epidemic that threatens the city’s children.

The European release has slightly different ending: 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 a state of war exists with Germany.

As the US had not yet entered World War II, the American release does not contain the 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)