vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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Hello, nurse

Most dramatic? In many ways it was. "Vigil In The Night" was certainly the most serious film Carole Lombard ever made, and to portray a British nurse, she worked hard to make herself believable in the role. At least that's the impression one gets from film columnists of the time.

Take, for example, Harrison Carroll of the Los Angeles Evening Herald-Express. On July 27, 1939, he reported that Lombard "has tested 18 different coiffures and 18 different nurse's caps for 'Vigil In The Night.' You can't blame her because, except for one sequence, she wears her uniform all through the picture. And in that one sequence, her costume is a simple street dress. Pretty unusual for a Hollywood glamour girl."

On Sept. 30, Carroll described a visit to the RKO set where 'Vigil' was being filmed:

"In the ward of an English hospital, nurse Carole Lombard is standing beside a bed. A man lies on it. His stomach is bare, revealing a scar.

"Carole's job in this scene from 'Vigil In The Night' is to remove the stitches from the wound.

"At the moment, you'd scarcely recognize her as a Hollywood glamour girl. She is wearing a bluish gray gingham uniform, covered with a white nurse's apron. The Lombard legs are encased in cotton stockings."

(Then again, maybe they weren't. In "The Snooper" column of the Nov. 25 Herald-Express, it was reported that Lombard was allergic to cotton, so "all quilts, pillows and mattresses" used in "Vigil" were free of such material, and that a synthetic cotton lookalike material was used. One presumes her hosiery was made of similar stuff.)

Oh, and Carroll reported "Vigil" was "next door to a real cemetery," which likely means it was made on stages 29 to 32 of Paramount, which has since acquired the RKO lot.

Lombard worked diligently on "Vigil," and garnered some of her best reviews. Unfortunately, the public wouldn't buy her as a serious actress (just as it wouldn't for Goldie Hawn half a century later). "Vigil" (that's Brian Aherne with Lombard) ended up losing money.


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