The Hasty Heart
|The Hasty Heart|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Vincent Sherman|
|Produced by||Russel Crouse
|Written by||Ranald MacDougall
John Patrick (play)
|Music by||Jack Beaver|
|Edited by||Edward B. Jarvis|
|Box office||₤248,584 (UK)|
The Hasty Heart is a 1949 Anglo-American co-production directed by Vincent Sherman and starring Ronald Reagan, Patricia Neal, and Richard Todd. The film based is based on the play of the same name by John Patrick.
The Hasty Heart tells the story of a group of wounded Allied soldiers in a mobile surgery unit at the end of World War II who, after initial resentment and ostracism, rally around a loner, unappreciative Scot who they know is dying.
In Burma during the Pacific War in 1945, a group of wounded Allied soldiers are at makeshift British military hospital in the jungle. As they've all been there for quite some time, they have a strong bond. "Yank" (Ronald Reagan) is the lone American there, recovering from malaria, along with Tommy (Howard Marion-Crawford), the Englishman, Kiwi (Ralph Michael), the New Zealander, Digger (John Sherman), the Australian, and Blossom (Orlando Martins), the African. They are all under the care of the friendly nurse, Sister Margaret Parker (Patricia Neal).
The commanding doctor of the hospital, Lt Col Dunn Anthony Nicholls, tells the men that they will be receiving a new patient soon, and that they should be extra nice to this man. He is a Scot, and while he seems to have recovered from his operation, his abnormal kidney means that he will die within a few weeks. Dunn tells the men that the Scot will be outwardly healthy until one day he will suddenly die when his kidney fails. When the Scot arrives, Cpl. Lachlan 'Lachie' MacLachlan (Richard Todd) is very gruff and mean. He is constantly suspicious of his bunkmates attempting to make friends with him.
Margaret tries to convince Lachie to buy a regimental kilt, something he feels is too expensive to purchase since he had recently bought a house in Scotland to which he intends to return. However, during Lachie's 24th birthday party, Margaret gives a him a kilt and the rest of his bunkmates all contribute something for his uniform. Lachie is proud, and they all have a photoshoot, with the bunkmates trying to answer the question of whether he wears any underwear under his kilt or not.
Lachie warms to the soldiers, and opens up about his past, and tells them, "They say sorrow is born in the hasty heart." He reveals to Margaret that his aloof and suspicious behavior is the result of great cruelty inflicted on him in his youth as an illegitimate child. Later, Lachie confesses to Yank that he is in love with Margaret and will propose to her. Yank tries to convince him otherwise, but when Lachie proposes to her, she accepts because that is what will make him the most happy.
Soon, Dunn returns and tells Lachie that he can return to Scotland if he wants. When Lachie ask why he is getting special treatment, Dunn tells him the truth and that his death is imminent. Lachie explodes at his friends, thinking they were his friend only because he was sick and dying. He decides to return to Scotland, but as he is leaving, he breaks down and says he does not want to die alone. Blossom offers him a necklace, but when Lachie rejects it, Yank explains that Blossom does not speak English and therefore could not have known that Lachie was dying. Once he realizes that, Lachie softens and decides to stay and take pictures with the men in his kilt.
"I wasn't right at all for the nurse," said Patricia Neal. "But it was my first sympathetic part, at least."
The film was the tenth most popular movie at the British box office in 1949.
Richard Todd (who won the role over Gordon Jackson) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. The film also won two Golden Globes (Richard Todd for "Most Promising Newcomer – Male" and for "Best Film Promoting International Understanding")
- Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p490
- "SCREEN NEWS: Warners Pay $100,000 Down for 'Hasty Heart' Joan Blondell Gets Top Part" New York Times 19 Feb 1945: 21.
- PORTRAIT OF THE LADY NAMED NEAL By HOWARD THOMPSON. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 02 Nov 1952: X5.
- "TOPS AT HOME.". The Courier-Mail (Brisbane: National Library of Australia). 31 December 1949. p. 4. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- Vallance, Tom (5 December 2009). "Richard Todd: D-Day veteran and actor celebrated for his role as Guy Gibson in 'The Dam Busters'". The Independent (London).
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