Women in War

Women in War is a 1940 American war film about the nurses of the British Voluntary Aid Detachment during the Battle of France. Directed by John H. Auer and starring Wendy Barrie, Elsie Janis and Patric Knowles, it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Visual Effects (Howard Lydecker, William Bradford, Ellis J. Thackery, Herbert Norsch).[1] [2]

Women in War
Film poster
Directed byJohn H. Auer
Produced bySol C. Siegel
Written byDoris Anderson
F. Hugh Herbert
StarringWendy Barrie
Elsie Janis
Music byCy Feuer
CinematographyJack A. Marta
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • June 6, 1940 (1940-06-06)
Running time
71 minutes
CountryUnited States


Socialite Pamela Starr meets Mr Tedford, an older man in a London night club. After he escorts her home he tries to enter her flat feeling he has deserved the right to sleep with her as he has paid for her entertainment. Pamela thrusts a £5 note in his hands as reimbursement and attempts to enter her room but Tedford won't let her. The spirited Pamela strikes the drunken Tedford sending him across the landing where he crashes through a railing over the stairwell sending Tedford to his death.

The ensuing court case doesn't go well for Pamela as her playgirl lifestyle is paraded as evidence against her, and to Pamela's surprise, Mr. Tedford was actually a British captain on leave from the war front. Watching the trial is Matron O'Neil, who was formerly Pamela's mother until she divorced her husband and left to go nursing around the troubled world to help those in need. Pamela had never known her mother and her late libertine father had denied her moral leadership and discipline in raising her. O'Neil and Pamela's defence solicitor concoct an arrangement where Pamela won't be charged with Tedford's death if she volunteers to be an Army nurse in France. Pamela is assigned to a VAD Detachment led by Matron O'Neil with Pamela still unaware that O'Neil is her mother.

Pamela's infamous reputation precedes her and furthermore the fiancee of one of her fellow nurses, Flt. Lt. Larry Hall of the RAF falls in love with Pamela. The tensions of the nurses continue as their detachment is sent to a dangerous area of the battle line.



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