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The Hasty Heart

The Hasty Heart
Original film poster
Directed by Vincent Sherman
Produced by Russel Crouse
Howard Lindsay
Written by Ranald MacDougall
John Patrick (play)
Starring Richard Todd
Ronald Reagan
Patricia Neal
Music by Jack Beaver
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Edited by Edward B. Jarvis
Distributed by ABPC
Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • December 2, 1949 (1949-12-02)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office ₤248,584 (UK)[1]

The Hasty Heart is a 1949 Anglo-American co-production directed by Vincent Sherman and starring Ronald Reagan, Patricia Neal, and Richard Todd. The film based is based on the play of the same name by John Patrick.

The Hasty Heart tells the story of a group of wounded Allied soldiers in a mobile surgery unit at the end of World War II who, after initial resentment and ostracism, rally around a loner, unappreciative Scot who they know is dying.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Reception 4
    • Box Office 4.1
    • Critical 4.2
  • TV remake 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


In Burma during the Pacific War in 1945, a group of wounded Allied soldiers are at makeshift British military hospital in the jungle. As they've all been there for quite some time, they have a strong bond. "Yank" (Ronald Reagan) is the lone American there, recovering from malaria, along with Tommy (Howard Marion-Crawford), the Englishman, Kiwi (Ralph Michael), the New Zealander, Digger (John Sherman), the Australian, and Blossom (Orlando Martins), the African. They are all under the care of the friendly nurse, Sister Margaret Parker (Patricia Neal).

The commanding doctor of the hospital, Lt Col Dunn Anthony Nicholls, tells the men that they will be receiving a new patient soon, and that they should be extra nice to this man. He is a Scot, and while he seems to have recovered from his operation, his abnormal kidney means that he will die within a few weeks. Dunn tells the men that the Scot will be outwardly healthy until one day he will suddenly die when his kidney fails. When the Scot arrives, Cpl. Lachlan 'Lachie' MacLachlan (Richard Todd) is very gruff and mean. He is constantly suspicious of his bunkmates attempting to make friends with him.

Margaret tries to convince Lachie to buy a regimental kilt, something he feels is too expensive to purchase since he had recently bought a house in Scotland to which he intends to return. However, during Lachie's 24th birthday party, Margaret gives a him a kilt and the rest of his bunkmates all contribute something for his uniform. Lachie is proud, and they all have a photoshoot, with the bunkmates trying to answer the question of whether he wears any underwear under his kilt or not.

Lachie warms to the soldiers, and opens up about his past, and tells them, "They say sorrow is born in the hasty heart." He reveals to Margaret that his aloof and suspicious behavior is the result of great cruelty inflicted on him in his youth as an illegitimate child. Later, Lachie confesses to Yank that he is in love with Margaret and will propose to her. Yank tries to convince him otherwise, but when Lachie proposes to her, she accepts because that is what will make him the most happy.

Soon, Dunn returns and tells Lachie that he can return to Scotland if he wants. When Lachie ask why he is getting special treatment, Dunn tells him the truth and that his death is imminent. Lachie explodes at his friends, thinking they were his friend only because he was sick and dying. He decides to return to Scotland, but as he is leaving, he breaks down and says he does not want to die alone. Blossom offers him a necklace, but when Lachie rejects it, Yank explains that Blossom does not speak English and therefore could not have known that Lachie was dying. Once he realizes that, Lachie softens and decides to stay and take pictures with the men in his kilt.



Warner Bros bought the film rights to the play for $100,000 and a percentage of the profits in 1945. The originally announced John Dall would play the lead of Lachie.[2]

The film was adapted by Ranald MacDougall from Patrick's play, and directed by Vincent Sherman. Art Direction was performed by Terence Verity.


Box Office

The film was the tenth most popular movie at the British box office in 1949.[3]


Richard Todd (who won the role over Gordon Jackson)[4] was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. The film also won two Golden Globes (Richard Todd for "Most Promising Newcomer – Male" and for "Best Film Promoting International Understanding")

TV remake

The Hasty Heart was remade for television in 1983. It starred Gregory Harrison, Perry King and Cheryl Ladd. King won a Golden Globe nomination for the role.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p490
  2. ^ "SCREEN NEWS: Warners Pay $100,000 Down for 'Hasty Heart' Joan Blondell Gets Top Part" New York Times 19 Feb 1945: 21.
  3. ^ "TOPS AT HOME.".  
  4. ^ Vallance, Tom (5 December 2009). "'"Richard Todd: D-Day veteran and actor celebrated for his role as Guy Gibson in 'The Dam Busters. The Independent (London). 
  5. ^

External links

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