"I Am My Brother’s Keeper"
What You Need To Know:
Based on a play by John Patrick, THE HASTY HEART is beautifully filmed and acted. Richard Todd as the terminally ill Scottish soldier, Ronald Reagan as the American soldier and Patricia Neal as the nurse each deliver one of their best performances. THE HASTY HEART has a great, positive message celebrating brotherly love. It’s a richly rewarding movie with a lot of heart.
In the 1949 war drama, THE HASTY HEART, a group of soldiers from other countries come together to make the remaining days of a dying soldier named Lachie (played by Richard Todd) as happy as possible. An American soldier nicknamed Yank by the other soldiers (played by Ronald Reagan) has to set aside his dislike for Scottish people and Lachie’s gruff, antisocial, stubborn demeanor, so he can do his moral obligation to help a fellow human being in need.
THE HASTY HEART takes place during the final days of World War II in Burma. Sgt. Lachlen “Lachie” McLachlen is marching along and playing his bagpipes on the front lines of the war when bombs and gunfire go off. Lachie is told by his superior to take his gun and start moving. Suddenly, a bomb goes off, and Lachie is hit and taken to get medical treatment. The audience are introduced to a group of injured soldiers who are waiting for their turn to go home since the war is finally over.
Lachie is mad that he keeps getting the run around by the doctors who keep telling him he isn’t able to go home yet because he has to stay at the hospital “observation.” The doctors aren’t telling him the truth about his failing kidneys. The Colonel of the military tells the head nurse, Sister Margaret Parker*, that Lachie has around three or four weeks left to live and that he should be around other people. Sister Margaret tells the other five injured soldiers that they are to become friends with Lachie and help his remaining days be fun and easy.
However, Lachie has no intentions of making friends. He doesn’t even want to have a friendly conversation with the other injured soldiers. Lachie’s hostility makes it difficult for an American soldier nicknamed Yank to warm up to him. Still, Yank and his good moral character keep trying to open Lachie up, despite Lachie having a troubled upbringing and always having his guard up for everyone he meets. Lachie has a birthday that he nearly forgot, until Sister Margaret and the guys get Lachie his first regimental Scottish kilt, which means so much to him. Lachie had told them the kilt is too expensive because he recently had bought his first home in Scotland, where he plans to settle.
The act of kindness with the birthday gift causes Lachie to open up his heart and become good friends with everyone in the hospital. In fact, he’s so open that he can’t stop talking! Lachie starts asking all the guys what their plans are when they get home in hopes of them coming to visit him. Everyone has their own lives after the war, however, so Lachie still feels as lonely as ever.
Lachie finds himself falling in love with the nurse, played by Patricia Neal. He asks her to marry him. This puts her in a difficult spot because she knows about his terminal condition, but she says yes anyway. However, Lachie ends up finding out he only has a few weeks left to live and that everyone knew that. He’s mad at everyone and requests to go home and live the remainder of his life alone.
How can the other soldiers, not to mention the nurse, prove to Lachie that they really do care?
Unless you have a heart of stone, just reading the plot to THE HASTY HEART can be an emotionally powerful experience. Watching the movie itself, however, multiplies that feeling a hundred fold. Based on a play by John Patrick, THE HASTY HEART is beautifully filmed and acted. Richard Todd as the terminally ill Scottish soldier, Ronald Reagan as the American soldier, and Patricia Neal as Nurse Margaret each deliver one of their best performances. Todd was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor and won a Golden Globe award for Most Promising Newcomer.
THE HASTY HEART has a great, positive message celebrating brotherly love. It’s a richly rewarding movie with a lot of heart.
*Traditionally, until 2010, nurses in Great Britain and the British Empire were called Sisters.