While the Patient Slept

While the Patient Slept is a 1935 comedy murder mystery film directed by Ray Enright and starring Aline MacMahon as a nurse/crime sleuth and Guy Kibbee as her boyfriend and police detective. It is based on the novel of the same name by Mignon G. Eberhart.

While the Patient Slept
Directed byRay Enright
Produced byHarry Joe Brown (uncredited)
Written byRobert N. Lee
Eugene Solow
Brown Holmes (add. dialogue)
Based onthe novel While the Patient Slept
by Mignon G. Eberhart
StarringAline MacMahon
Guy Kibbee
Music byBernhard Kaun (uncredited)
CinematographyArthur Edeson
Edited byOwen Marks
Distributed byFirst National Pictures
Release date
  • March 2, 1935 (1935-03-02)
Running time
65-67 minutes
CountryUnited States


A comedic murder mystery involving a nurse who is assigned to the at-home care of a man who recently had a stroke. While he is unconscious, on a dark and stormy night, a murder takes place in his bedroom. With family members and potential heirs confined to the house for several days, additional murders occur while the nurse and a police detective work on solving the case.



The New York Times reviewer was unimpressed: "Mr. Kibbie and Miss MacMahon finally break the case ... but the solution is not altogether satisfactory. Neither, for that matter, is the picture. Come right down to it, it's quite unsatisfactory."[1] Later critics also had reservations about the film, as being a lesser version of the prize-winning book: "Unfortunately, the film producers, modeling the Eberhart mystery film versions on others of the day, sought to extend humorous quips between characters and eliminate significant elements of the plot that involved clues, no doubt in hopes of attracting a broader audience."[2]


  1. L S. N. (March 2, 1935). "While the Patient Slept (1935)". The New York Times.
  2. Rick Cypert, James G. McManaway. America's Agatha Christie: Mignon Good Eberhart, Her Life and Works. Susquehanna University Press, 2005. p. 90.
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