Emergency Hospital (1956)

Emergency Hospital is an interesting little “slice of life” film that packs a whole lot of emergency room drama into a tiny 62-minute running time. It provides a peek into the lives of female medical professionals in the 1950s.

(Image: movieposter.com)
(Image: movieposter.com)

Released by Bel Air Productions, the film stars Walter Reed, Margaret Lindsay, John Archer, Byron Palmer, and Rita Johnson.

Lindsay’s character of Dr. Janet Carey serves largely as the film’s central focus. She is a kind and devoted doctor who has enough patience to deal with all of the kooky and sometimes deranged characters who pay a visit to her hospital during the night shift.

Emergency Hospital moves along at an incredibly fast pace and doesn’t frequently lose the attention of the viewer. It is in general a drama, but some of the scenarios (including a woman who desperately wants to be diagnosed with a rare illness just so she can say she had something no one else in her social circle had) are comedic.

It is a film that will appeal to fans of medical dramas like ER, Grey’s Anatomy or House, where both the hospital staff and specific cases are explored. Of course, with its short running time, this film doesn’t explore either the lives of the doctors or the lives of the patients in quite as much detail as those television shows, but it has the same themes and mood. Despite its lighter moments, it isn’t a film that shies away from tackling real issues, including suicide and gun violence.

The trajectory of the film’s plot is fairly simple and predictable, making it a pretty average B movie drama unless you’re a viewer with a particular interest in medical dramas. Emergency Hospital falls short of being a fantastic film, but it holds the viewer’s attention well enough and has an interesting cast. It isn’t a bad way to spend an hour. The score: 3/5

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One thought on “Emergency Hospital (1956)

  1. I caught this efficient little programmer on Netflix instant and was surprised that it tackled some controversial subject matter for the 50s, attempted suicide, child abuse and rape rather plainly. What may be even more surprising is that the dialogue contained both the words rape and pregnant, something that the production code at the time usually disallowed. Probably due to the fact that this came from a poverty row studio and strictures weren’t so tight. The low budget is very evident in that the hospital only seems to have three rooms and two doctors! However again for the time period the hospital staff is rather diverse with both an Asian and an African-American nurse. I agree that the film is no great shakes but an interesting artifact.

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