Vigil in the Night

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Vigil in the Night
theatrical poster
Directed by George Stevens
Written by Fred Guiol
P. J. Wolfson
Rowland Leigh
Based on Vigil in the Night
by A. J. Cronin
Produced byGeorge Stevens
Starring Carole Lombard
Brian Aherne
Anne Shirley
Cinematography Robert De Grasse
Edited byHenry Berman
Music by Alfred Newman
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Release date
  • February 9, 1940 (1940-02-09)
Running time
96 minutes
102 minutes (US)
CountryUnited States
Budget$920,000 [1]
Box office$1,004,000 [1]

Vigil in the Night is a 1940 RKO Pictures drama film based on the 1939 serialized novel Vigil in the Night by A. J. Cronin. The film was produced and directed by George Stevens and stars Carole Lombard, Brian Aherne and Anne Shirley.



In Great Britain, nurse Anne Lee takes the blame for a fatal error made by her sister Lucy, also a nurse, and 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 conditions for the care of the sick and fight a measles epidemic that threatens the city's children.

Alternative versions

The European release of the film has a 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 United States had not yet entered World War II, the American release does not contains the radio message, and a shot of Anne Lee and Dr. Prescott reacting to the news was deleted.


Scene from the film Vigil In The Night trailer.JPG
Scene from the film

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  1. 1 2 Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p57