The film is based on a play by Allan Kenward which opened in California in 1942. It was also performed on Broadway, under the title, Proof Through the Night, with Carol Channing in one of the main roles, but was not successful and closed after a few performances. The title comes from the famous line of Shakespeare's, in Julius Caesar: "Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war."
The hardships bring the women closer and they discuss their hopes for the future. Grace (Joan Blondell), a former burlesque performer dances for the group to break the tension. Sue remains in a state of shock following her ordeal, and this is compounded when the hospital is attacked again. Grace is injured, and in a later attack, Connie (Ella Raines) is killed. An opportunity arises for all of the women to leave the island, but after some discussion they all decide to remain and help as best they can. The group learns that Lt. Holt has been killed and both Pat and Lt. Smith are grief stricken. Soon after, Lt. Smith becomes ill with malaria and in her delirium reveals that she was married to Lt. Holt and that they were keeping their marriage a secret due to a military regulation that prevented married couples from serving together. The film ends with the hospital surrounded by Japanese forces and the nurses forced to surrender to them.
Of note to modern audiences is a very early film appearance by Robert Mitchum, who is briefly seen as a dying soldier. The film also marks the final performance by Diana Lewis, who retired following her marriage to the actor, William Powell.
|Margaret Sullavan as Lt. Mary Smith||Frances Gifford as Helen Domeret|
|Ann Sothern as Pat Conlin||Diana Lewis as Nydia Joyce|
|Joan Blondell as Grace Lambert||Heather Angel as Andra West|
|Fay Bainter as Capt. Alice Marsh||Dorothy Morris as Sue West|
|Marsha Hunt as Flo Norris||Connie Gilchrist as Sadie, the cook|
|Ella Raines as Connie Booth|