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Loretta Young was young in 1932. Only 19 years old, the already madonna-esque starlet made a string of semi-lurid "women's pictures" like Play Girl (1932), Weekend Marriage (1932), and this sentimental drama about a pregnant felon (Young) who must choose between a lethal C-section or an abortion. Remade in a sanitized remake as A Child Is Born (1940), this original is more brutal in a Depression-era way about the economic and personal cost of motherhood, as also expressed by subplots about a vaudeville dancer (Glenda Farrell) who fears birthing the twins she carries will doom her to single motherhood and poverty. Young is tremendously sympathetic in this movie, whether weeping when her husband brings her roses or serenely facing her fate. (A few years later, Loretta Young would deal with her own unwed mother drama: after becoming pregnant after an affair with then-married Clark Gable, she secretly gave birth to "adopted" daughter Judith).By Violet LeVoitback to top
Life Begins (1932)
A maternity ward becomes the focus for the patients', doctors' and nurses' personal problems.
Producer: Darryl F. Zanuck
Director: James Flood, Elliott Nugent
Screenplay: Mary Axelson, Earl Baldwin
Cinematography: James Van Trees
Film Editing: George Marks
Art Direction: Esdras Hartley
Cast: Loretta Young (Grace Sutton), Eric Linden (Jed Sutton), Aline MacMahon (Miss Bowers), Glenda Farrell (Florette Darien), Clara Blandick (Mrs. West), Preston Foster (Dr. Brett).