Sunday, September 7, 2014

Edith Cavell: Nurse, Protector, Savior, POW

"Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."

I'd never heard of Edith Cavell until I found this movie on Amazon. She was a British nurse stationed in Belgium during WWI. During the German occupation, her hospital became a medical hub for German soldiers, as one was not supposed to harbor or care for French, British, any enemy of Germany. BUT she took in the wounded or even just the lost/escaped and hid them and treated them in the hospital cellar.

Between herself and others, she helped at least 200 Allied soldiers escape.

From History Channel's bio of her: "What Jeanne d’Arc has been for centuries to France," wrote one Allied journalist, "that will Edith Cavell become to the future generations of Britons."

The movie shows us all this and also how two other women helped her with her operation. (These ladies MAY have been contrived for the movie only. I do not know, but I'd like to think they existed too.) There's the feisty boat lady. I call her the boat lady because she and her husband stick the men in barrels and hide them on their boat and take them away. She's really ballsy and hands off incriminating postcards to German soldiers to mail for her. Perhaps overconfident, but it added a nice touch to the story.
The real Edith
There's also a countess turned ambulance driver who blatantly protests the treatment of the POWs. Also in the movie is an old lady whose grandson aids them, but as for the old lady herself, I couldn't figure out how she was involved besides being hysterical.

Sadly, Edith is betrayed and busted. The new military command wished to make an example of her and twisted her deeds. Instead of acting from the kindness of her heart, which she was, they managed to get her a death sentence by twisting the charges. She was accused of providing the enemy with men to fight against Germany. While some of the  men she saved probably did fight against Germany, many were too wounded.

She was executed by firing squad. The movie shows us this. This is a true story so I'm not spoiling anything here.

Movie Edith
While I really appreciated this movie for the history and the remarkable woman it informed me about, I'm disappointed in some things. The picture is terrible, but that's to be expected. My screen was black half the time with nothing visible. Again, to be expected. It's old. (1939) What really bothered me however was the sound. Apparently the audio in this movie is so bad that even the captionist couldn't hear or understand it as every fourth or fifth word in my captions said, "Inaudible".

My second and third complaints: 1. Perhaps the actress was told to be this way, but in my eyes, she was a robot most of the movie. There was probably only three scenes in which her character showed any emotion whatsoever. 2. I want to know what became of the other ladies. They were thrown in jail with her and then they were at her memorial service....why were they not punished too? A few weeks in jail compared to execution? I'd have liked that explained.

But to learn about this woman, I recommend watching this. I'd love to see it remade, actually.

I watched this via Amazon Prime.

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