The Films of Petula Clark
White Corridors

Released June 1951 [UK]
Drama - 102 minutes

White Corridors was based on Yeoman Hospital, a novel by Helen Ashton. Told episodically, the story concentrates on the day-to-day activities in a busy hospital, where research pathologist Neil Marriner (James Donald) conducts experiments in the hopes of curing diseases impervious to penicillin. Marriner is aided in this endeavor by lady surgeon Dr. Sophie Dean (Googie Withers), who happens to be in love with him. After a tragedy occurs for which Marriner holds himself responsible, the film builds steadily to an exciting climax involving a untested -- and potentially dangerous -- serum. The top-rank British supporting cast includes Barry Jones, Moira Lister, Petula Clark, Basil Radford, Dagmar (later Dana) Wynter, Bernard Lee, and, in a minor role, future "Dr. Who" Patrick Troughton.
Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Dr. Sophie Dean......
Neil Marriner........
Groom Sr.............
Joan Shepherd........
Dolly Clark..........
Dick Groom...........
Dr. Shoesmith........

Googie Withers
James Donald
Godfrey Tearle
Petula Clark
Moira Lister
Jack Watling
Barry Jones

  • Directed by Pat Jackson
  • Writing credits: David E. Jackson, Pat Jackson, Jan Read
  • Based on the novel Yeoman's Hospital by Helen Ashton
  • Nominated for two British Film Academy Awards (BAFTA)
         -Best British Film of 1951 (Lost to The Lavender Hill Mob)
         -Best Film from any Source

  • Everything happens in hospitals, given the time. Realizing this, director Pat Jackson has built one of those "omnibus" stories around hospital life, using a camera that flits restlessly from out -patients department to pathological laboratory, from doctor's rest-room to ward kitchesn. Precious little is left out, and the result is an unusually well-constructed, sober-sided film. It contains, among other things, one of the most realistic scenes of an operation that I can remember. The picture is nothing if not expert. Jackson, who on this showing is now one of the best directors in Britian, is a man with an eye for character, a sense of line and the knowledge of how to get the smoothest performances out of his players. He gives us a restless, fascinating parade of hospital life, ward sisters, probationer nurses, amorous doctors and the like. Maybe they're all stock characters. But undoubtedly they're well played and well handled. There is a young research doctor who isolates a drug that works where penicillin fails. He nearly dies proving his own case. There is a handsome woman surgeon--extremely well played by Googie Withers--who is sufficiently in love with him to throw away a promising career in London for his sake. There is a senior surgeon, turned in like clockwork by Godfrey Tearles, whose son lets down the family standards. And there are nurses who giggle, sisters who scold, matrons who bully and porters who drink cups of tea and think about football pools. The mixture, in short, as Ealing has so often concocted it, but done more convincingly than usual. The cast is long and good. In addition to Miss Withers and Mr. Tearle, there are some very competent sketches by James Danald and Petula Clark, the last named in the most mature part she has had so far, and doing very well in it. But this is not really a players' picture. It is a piece of director's craftsmanship. Thoughtful picturegoers will watch how Jackson takes this rather static subject and gives it a feeling of urgency and movement. This result is a clever piece of work that is much more solid and satisfying entertainment than most.
    Picturegoer - 16 June, 1951.

  • A hospital background provides the setting for a tense, emotional drama which has been handled on adult lines. It is occasionally scrapy in its characterisations, but is basically a sincere intelligent study of surgical life. It's in the strong-meat clss of entertainment and although it may have a none-too-easy time at the box-office, it merits specialised booking in America. Pat Jackson has directed crisply and economically, confining the action entirely to hospital interiors. There is no straight-forward plot in the conventional sense; instead the script spotlights a few of the hospital characters, doctors, nurses and patients. By its very treatment, much of the characterisation is inconclusive, but the fault is a minor one and the film stands on its powerful emotional appeal. This atmosphere is heightened by sterling performances by James Donaldas the pathologist, and Googie Withers, as hospital surgeon in love with him. Godfrey Tearle gives another distinguished performance as the hospital's senior surgeon and handles with feeling a scene in which he dismisses his son for neglect of duty. Barry Jones, the chief medico, makes a wqrm,, vigorous contribution to the story, while Petula Clark, as a probationary nurse, reveals what the horrors of a surgical ward might mean to a teenager. It's left to Basil Radford as a guest artist to provide most of the few humorous touches, and to Moira Lister to fill an unrelieved role as the nurse who is discarded by a young doctor, Jack Watling. Faithful cameos come from Lyn Evans as a patientp; Megs Jenkins as the mother of the boy who dies and Brand Inglis as the kid.
    Variety - 27 June, 1951

  • After years of TV hospital drama real and fictional this Midlands-set medical tale charting the various comings and goings of doctors and patients will probably appear overfamiliar. The central plot involves a doctor (James Donald) who, perfecting a serum for treating a blood disease, infects himself thus requiring the intervention of the doctor who loves him (Googie Withers). While it may sound like a hokey soap opera, it is actually a well-made British A-feature, realistically played by a large and excellent cast that includes a number of well-known faces, among them Petula Clark, Moira Lister, Jack Watling, Basil Radford, and, for the eagle-eyed, Patrick Troughton in a bit part.
    Robyn Karney - Radio Times Review

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