The Nurse's Secret (1941)
User ReviewsReview this title
In this film Regis Toomey is the inexperienced detective and Lee Patrick is the nurse. Regis Toomey is better at playing a bumbling detective than George Brent - Brent just played the part too deliberately. On the other hand I think I prefer Blondell in the original as the nurse. Lee Patrick certainly could play the "wise cracking dame" pretty well, but she was 40 when this film was made versus Blondell who was 26 when she played the role and was more age appropriate for the part.
The one thing that has improved over the years were production values - the sound recording is better, and you can see detail better even though this is an old dark house. Still, I think there is nothing of note that this remake adds to the original. If you haven't seen "Miss Pinkerton" I think you'll like it, but if you have seen the original I'd just stick with that.
Average film, and I frankly wasn't sure at first if it was supposed to be funny or not as it was so over the top. Patrick had a nice, energetic personality, but it felt like these people were directed to act as if they were on stage rather than before a camera. Way too big.
You'll see lots of familiar faces in this, though: Julie Bishop, George Chandler, Charles Trowbridge, Virginia Brissac - names that might not mean much to you but the faces are instantly recognizable.
It's just okay.
Blandick is the spinster matriarch of a troubled family who apparently witnesses the suicide of a nephew and then is entrusted into the care of nurse Lee Patrick while mysterious occurrences around her large house continue. Three quarters of the way through the film, Blandick meets her maker, and it comes up to nurse Patrick and her boss, Regis Toomey, to find out who the real killer is, especially when Patrick is accused of replacing arsenic for the medicine in the hypodermic needle requested by the doctor. Unfortunately, Toomey and Blandick, who played the hero and his possessive mother, in the 1932 Barbara Stanwyck soap opera "Shopworn", do not appear together.
This was probably the only leading role for Warner Brothers character actress Lee Patrick who played an assortment of parts in a 1930s, 40's and 50's, ranging from wisecracking secretaries to jilted lovers to dizzy Society matrons. Reminding me of Celeste Holm in this film, Patrick does a good job and showing the fear of her character yet adds humor when she has to stand up to Blandick who tries to deceive her in several scenes. The film has enough differences with the other two versions to stand apart and that makes it much better than I had expected it to be.
Still the homicide cop Regis Toomey has his doubts and he places his girlfriend Patrick in the home as an attending nurse to the maiden aunt owner Clara Blandick. The idea is to pick up any loose information she gets and report to Toomey. When Blandick gets herself poisoned Patrick finds herself in a nice jackpot.
This B film from Warner Brothers probably might have had Pat O'Brien in the lead with Ann Sheridan had it been an A film. It's hand me down material all right, but served up well.
There are a lovely household full of suspects and with a running time of little over an hour it keeps a good clip in its pace. Later the same year Lee Patrick gets her career role as Sam Spade's secretary in The Maltese Falcon. She never did break through the ranks into A players.
The Nurse's Secret does show Lee Patrick's capability in a lead which sadly she never had too many chances at.
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Boring mystery from Warner has a man found dead with a gunshot wound to his head. Everyone believes it was suicide but Inspector Patten (Regis Toomey) thinks someone murdered him. To try and turn up some clues, he has his nurse girlfriend (Lee Patrick) enter the home and take care of an elderly woman and sure enough more bodies pile up. THE NURSE'S SECRET is pretty bland from start to finish and in a genre full of bland pictures, this one here has very little going for it. I think I've watched just about everyone one of these type of movies that come on Turner Classic Movies and this here is without question one of the weakest. I think what hurts the film so bad is that it runs just 64-minutes yet it feels much longer than GREED. The entire story isn't all that interesting and it's clear that they're trying way too hard to be mysterious. I say that because there are so many red herrings and each of them are portrayed in such an over-the-top way that it's obvious to tell that none of them are going to turn out to be the killer. With that said, this is one of those films where things just happen for no apparent reason and there's really no crime to figure out because you know that in the end there's going to be a group of people gathered and one of them is going to start singing. Patrick is fairly good in her role as the nurse and I also enjoyed Toomey. Julia Bishop is good as one of the suspects and I also enjoyed Charles Waldron in his part. THE NURSE'S SECRET is only going to appeal to film buffs who must check out every "B" picture that the genre has to offer.