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Girl in the News 1940
Description: An elderly lady manages to sneak some pills away from her nurse and dies of an overdose. The nurse is tried for murder and acquitted. Some time soon the nurse, under a fresh name and identity, cares for a patient who also dies of an overdose. When her true identity comes out, suspicions fly.
Released: 31 Jan 1941 Director: Carol Reed Writers: Sidney Gilliat (screenplay), Roy Vickers (from the novel by) Actors: Margaret Lockwood, Barry K. Barnes, Emlyn Williams, Roger Livesey Genres: Crime, Thriller
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Girl in the News Reviews:

"Nurse needed to attend invalid in quiet Surrey village; 22-26; hospital trained but experience in personal nursing essential. Apply sending features and photograph to Mrs. Bentley, Camthorpe House, Camthorpe, Surrey." The advert might have added, "Also essential: Nurse gotta be thought guilty, even though she was acquitted at trial, of murdering a previous invalid in her care."Anne Graham (Margaret Lockwood) had gone on trial for murdering the self-centered, sick girl she had been caring for. Sleeping pills were the means; a tiny legacy was the motive. Everyone assumed Anne had done it done. A resourceful young barrister, Stephen Farringdon (Barry K. Barnes), was able to plant enough seeds of doubt in the jury's mind to receive her off. Even he thinks she might have done it. She actually finds she's unemployable. Who wants a suspected murderer for a nurse? Fortuitously, she receives in the email a newspaper with an advert for a nurse. The zone is in Surrey, some method from London. She applies, is interviewed, and is hired. She is to take care of a wealthy older man, Mr. Bentley, who is confined to a wheelchair. The man's pretty wife, Mrs. Bentley, is most solicitous. Tracy the butler watches it all. And then we realize that the butler had been show at Anne's trial.As you might suppose, it's not long before Mr. Bentley has died from an overdose of sleeping pills. A codicil to his will gives a tiny legacy to Anne. And actually the police are convinced Anne killed both of her patients. Fortunately, Stephen Farringdon has cast aside his original doubt. He finds himself falling in love with Anne, and he is shrewd enough to think this second murder is a intelligent plot to create Anne look guilty while the true killers, who actually will be wealthy, transport on.There are no plot surprises. This is a "How's she going to receive out of this" mystery. For the first 35 minutes, we have the set up. For the last 45 minutes, the extrication. Much depends on the appeal of Margaret Lockwood. In the Forties she became one of Britain's best stars. It was difficult to beat her as a plucky, clever heroine or as a manipulating villain. Either way, she was an immensely likable personality. Others in the cast speak to the nice depth of acting Britain should place in its movies when it chose to. Roger Livesey plays a detective, Farringdon's friend, and he brings a lot of charm to the film. He has that inimitable voice, husky, friendly, and a tiny skeptical. In tiny parts, often unbilled, are such fine actors as Roland Culver, Leo Genn, Mervyn Johns, Felix Aylmer and Basil Radford. Unfortunately, the film suffers because neither the male lead nor the villain strikes many sparks. It's particularly unlikely that Tracy, small, smug and supercilious, would be any woman's hetero heartthrob. And Farringdon is one of those lean, polite, cultured types who seem to think a second glass of sherry might be too exciting for their woman friends. The film would benefit, in my view, by having two strong, pretty actors dealing with Margaret Lockwood.Carol Reed gives us a intelligent murder thriller with some great touches, from a black kitten tugging at the hem of a night dress while a petulant, sick girl slowly creeps her method to the medicine chest, to a humorous bit of misdirection involving a detective and a crook. Reed and screenwriter Sidney Gilliat know how to make characters that have enough feature to be interesting. Gilliat, who with his partner, Frank Launder, either together or separately, either working as writer, director or producer, or in any combination, were responsible for some nice Forties movies, too: Green for Danger, The Belles of St. Trinian's. I See a dark Stranger, The Rake's Progress, The Lady Vanishes, Night Train to Munich, among others.


Core to the plot is the extent to which a justifiable acquittal at a trial nevertheless prejudices the accused's future life. Given modern day concerns over sensational press coverage this is an trouble as valid today (probably more so) than it was in war-time Britain. But the movie does not follow this line, rather it presents us with a nice old-fashioned courtroom drama, culminating in a finale of which Perry Mason would have been proud. Quite how the character lawyer manages this stretches the judicial imagination somewhat, especially with a flawed witness, whose evidence clinches the outcome, not having to testify from the witness box.Despite these reservations this is an enjoyable enough production which canters along at a nice pace without any pretensions to high art. And it was great to see some early work from two actresses, Irene Handl (particularly malevolent as the first "victim") and Kathleen Harrison, who both went on to greater things in post-war British TV.


A young nurse who has been acquitted of poisoning her employer manages to search work under other name - and is accused of murder, by the same method, a second time. We know the guilty parties well in advance, and the solution of the crime by the nurse's attorney owes more to luck and intuition than to detection. There's no chase scene, no romance, not a nice deal of suspense. From Carol Reed, the same director who made "Night Train to Munich", "Odd Boy Out" and "The Third Man", this is a remarkably bland film. Still, it's very smoothly made, everything is focused on the storyline line, and the acting is uniformly excellent. It's a solid, professional piece of work (and I know that sounds like damning with faint praise), and while there's no urgent reason to see it more than once, it's certainly worth seeing once.



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