Life Begins (film)

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Life Begins
Life Begins FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by James Flood
Elliott Nugent (co-director)
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Written by Mary M. Axelson (play)
Earl Baldwin
Starring Loretta Young
Eric Linden
Aline MacMahon
Cinematography James Van Trees
Edited by George Marks
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • September 10, 1932 (1932-09-10)
Running time
71 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Life Begins (1932) is a drama film set in a 1930s maternity ward and deals with unwed mothers. It was adapted from the play of the same name by Mary M. Axelson.


At a maternity hospital, future fathers pace the corridors while their wives wait for their babies either anxiously or happily. Efficient and compassionate nurse Miss Bowers keeps the ward running smoothly. Things liven up when Grace Sutton is transferred from the prison where she is being held for murder. Most agree that the man she killed deserved to die, and Nurse Bowers sympathetically allows Grace's concerned husband Jed unlimited time with his wife. On the ward, the women have varied feelings about motherhood. Mrs. West, mother of six children, thinks babies are what give meaning to women's lives. In contrast, Florette, a showgirl, just wants to get rid of her twins as soon as possible. Miss Layton has decided opinions about child rearing and has no intention of being a doting mother. While the women debate their various theories, a woman who wants a baby so much that she has become demented wanders in from another ward. An Italian woman quietly sobs when she learns that her newborn has died. After a touching farewell with Jed, Grace, whose health has suffered from prison conditions, is taken into the labor room. While Jed waits anxiously, Florette is appalled by the plans that the prospective adoptive mother of her twins has concocted. She cradles one baby herself and discovers mother love. Miss Layton has also given up on her progressive plans for her baby. Down the hall, things are going badly for Grace. When the doctors ask Jed to choose between saving Grace or the baby, he chooses Grace, but she herself insists that the doctors operate and save the baby. After she dies, Jed refuses to see the baby girl, but wise Nurse Bowers places the child in his arms, and as with the mothers, he cannot resist her charms.


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