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The Fight for Life
IMDB Rating: 5.3/10 from APPROVED votes
Release: 07 Mar 1940 /

The Fight for Life

Genre: Drama, History
Director: Pare Lorentz,
Stars: ,
Synopsis: An interne witnesses the death of a young mother in a maternity hospital delivery room. Disturbed that he might have overlooked something that could have prevented the death, he goes to a ...

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Critic Reviews


This is one of a handful of documentary dramas made by Pare Lorentz in the late thirties and early forties. This one looks at a maternity clinic in an unidentified urban setting, where an intern under the guidance of dedicated obstetricians attempts to learn how to save the lives of impoverished and undernourished mothers and their babies amidst the slums.

It is pretty depressing stuff with a number of non-actresses in the roles of the many pregnant mothers - with glassy-eyed expressions of hopelessness and helplessness, to whom birth hardly seems a joyous occasion. The slums are pretty awful.

This whole 69 minute enterprise is bolstered by an Oscar-nominated musical score by Louis Gruenberg (one of three nominations he was to receive - the others for SO ENDS OUR NIGHT (1942) and THE COMMANDOS STRIKE AT DAWN (1942)). It is certainly inventive and effective, using staccato rhythmic patterns with drum and solo piano to emulate heart beats and tension. As well as full orchestra, there is also good use made of the solo cello. The full orchestral moments are terribly dramatic, at some points far more dramatic than the scenes they are underscoring, but all in all an unusually thoughtful score for a non-narrative film and a deserved Oscar nom, in my opinion.

Only two other documentaries (VICTORY THROUGH AIR POWER and BIRDS DO IT, BEES DO IT) have been nominated for Original Musical Score Oscars.

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