The Lamp Still Burns

The Lamp Still Burns is a 1943 British drama film directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Rosamund John, Stewart Granger and Godfrey Tearle.[1] Its plot concerns a woman architect who changes careers to become a nurse.

The Lamp Still Burns
Ernest Thesiger as the Chairman
Directed byMaurice Elvey
Produced byLeslie Howard
Written byElizabeth Baron
Charles Nelson (add. dialogue)
Roland Pertwee (add. dialogue)
Based onOne Pair of Feet
by Monica Dickens
StarringRosamund John
Stewart Granger
Godfrey Tearle
Music byJohn Greenwood
CinematographyRobert Krasker
Edited byFrederick Wilson
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
  • 29 November 1943 (1943-11-29)
Running time
87–92 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

It was based on the novel One Pair of Feet by Monica Dickens. Like the novel, the film is a plea for better conditions in English hospitals – and, more specifically, for better treatment of England's selfless nurses.[2]

The Lamp Still Burns was produced by actor Leslie Howard, who was killed in the service of his country not long after the film was released.[3]


Laurence Rains (Stewart Granger) is annoyed when female architect Hilary Clarke (Rosamund John) insists he must enlarge the first aid room in his factory to satisfy government regulations, despite having the best safety record in the country. He encounters her once again, now a nurse trainee assisting a doctor treat one of his employees. He finds out that Clarke only became an architect to please her father, who had no sons to follow in his profession. When she saw how her young assistant at her firm, seriously injured in a traffic accident, was tended to by the nurses, she found her true vocation. Pamela Siddell (Margaret Vyner), a violinist and Rains' fiancee, sees his attraction to Clarke.

Through the influence of Sir Marshall Freyne (Godfrey Tearle), one of her clients and a member of the board of Queen Eleanor's Hospital, Clarke is allowed to embark on a tough nurse training course, though she is somewhat older than the typical nineteen- or twenty-year-old candidate. Her independence gets her into trouble time and time again with the strict, by-the-book matron in charge of the nurses (Cathleen Nesbitt) when she questions some of the numerous regulations (for example, nurses are not allowed to speak directly to the doctors).

Romantic complications arise when both Rains and Siddell become patients at the hospital after a factory explosion. Rains and Clarke fall in love. Siddell eventually releases her fiance from their engagement. However, nurses are expected to devote themselves body and soul to their profession and do not have the time for personal relationships. Clarke's friend and fellow nurse, Christine Morris (Sophie Stewart), decides in favour of love, and gives up her career and a promotion to "sister" to marry the man she loves. Clarke chooses differently, but Rains vows to wait until she or someone else gets the situation improved.



According to Rosamund John, Stewart Granger's character was "supposed to have a head injury, which would have meant having his hair shaved off and a bandage like a turban. He flatly refused so they had to change it to a broken rib."[4]

Critical reception

The Radio Times wrote, "every hospital cliché has been scrubbed down and pressed into service – the cold efficient matron, the cantankerous patient and the handsome young doctor – and the wartime references give the film a home-front heroism that, while comforting for audiences of the time, now makes the whole thing seem as stiff as a starched uniform."[5] TV Guide noted "outstanding performances by the entire cast in this evenly directed and edited feature. The film is endowed with high production values that, at this time in the history of British cinema, were unusual."[6]


  1. The Lamp Still Burns at the British Film Institute's Film and TV Database
  2. THE LONDON FILM SCENE: Noel Coward Supervises Production of 'This Happy Breed' by Remote Control By C.A. LEJEUNE. New York Times (1923–Current file) [New York, N.Y] 02 May 1943: X3.
  3. "The-Lamp-Still-Burns – Trailer – Cast – Showtimes". Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  4. Brian MacFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Methuen 1997 p 329
  5. "The Lamp Still Burns | Film review and movie reviews". Radio Times. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  6. "The Lamp Still Burns Review". Retrieved 17 June 2014.
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