The Right to Live was the second film version of Somerset Maugham's The Sacred Flame (the first, produced in 1929, starred Conrad Nagel), which in its original form posed the question "Can there truly be such a thing as a mercy killing?" Put simply, it is the tragic tale of two brothers: Colin Trent (George Brent), strong and virile, and Maurice Trent (Colin Clive), crippled and bedridden. Though there's no hope for Maurice's recovery, his wife Stella (Josephine Hutchinson) has vowed -- publicly at least -- to remain faithfully by his side until the bitter end. When that end finally comes, the family doctor declares that Maurice has died a natural death. But Nurse Weyland (Peggy Wood), who has long suspected that something has been going on between Stella and her healthy brother-in-law Colin, believes that Maurice was murdered. Her insistence upon an autopsy is as much a product of her dedication to duty as to her own silent yearning for Colin. Thanks to the newly-strengthened Production Code, Maugham's powerful ending could not be used, thereby watering down what might have been a truly compelling and controversial film.