charming early-sound light romantic drama, well-played by stars Lloyd Hughes and Olive Borden
My copy of this rare 1930 film was missing the original credits, having a cheesy 1950's TV title card inserted (backed by canned 1950's TV music). The actual film seems to be intact otherwise. Coincidentally, I saw this film a few days after THE COSTELLO CASE, which was also produced by James Cruze and directed by Walter Lang earlier in 1930! HELLO SISTER is a charming light romantic drama where a spoiled rich girl, played by the intriguing and lovely Olive Borden (who's great at comedy...and melodrama too, if you check out her final film, the made-in-Florida CHLOE, from 1934), is forced by her late grandfather's will to change her wild flapper lifestyle and quit drinking, smoking, and carousing, and to attend church regularly! Prior to this, we meet two men in her life--a fawning, immature young man with whom she often goes out, and a spoiled arrogant rich boy who assumes (wrongly) that she will marry him when he gets back from his European vacation. While in church, she meets Lloyd Hughes, one of my favorite actors from the early-sound era (he worked in many poverty row features, and could be tough in one film and hilarious in the next one and tragic in the next--I was showed his Fanchon Royer production HEART PUNCH at a film festival where I was doing a tribute to Ms. Royer, and the audience found Hughes quite appealing and convincing, wondering why they had never heard of him!). Hughes is not exactly what he seems to be and there is a reason he is at the church that Borden doesn't know. Of course, this plot was not exactly new in 1930 (I've seen silent comedies with a similar plot), and it's still being trotted out today for romantic comedies. At 80 minutes, the film runs longer than the usual poverty row feature, but it moves briskly, and the two stars are fantastic (we even get to hear them sing briefly, but it's in an arch,antiquated style that is harsh on today's ears...mine at least). The minor characters are well-written and well-played (always a sign of a film where extra care is taken, despite the low budget), and while the print circulating is a bit rough, I was captivated for 80 minutes and completely enjoyed HELLO SISTER. By the way, the title is taken from a line of dialogue in the film, which you'll catch and understand when you see the film. Definitely recommended for the fan of early-sound poverty-row features, and a good example of the work of two much-underrated performers...Olive Borden and Lloyd Hughes.
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