6.7/10
555
18 user 1 critic

The Gay Sisters (1942)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 1 August 1942 (USA)
Fiona, Evelyn and Susanna are sisters. Their mother dies on the Lusitania, their father is killed in France, they must manage their Fifth Avenue mansion by themselves. Fiona marries Charles... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee), (novel)
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

My Reputation (1946)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A recent widow meets an army major while skiing and despite pressures from friends and family becomes romantically involved with him.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Warner Anderson
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A vain businessman puts strains on his happy marriage to a rich, beautiful socialite by allowing himself be be seduced by a former girlfriend.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason, Van Heflin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A polo player's wife becomes the mystery woman in a Long Island horsy-set murder trial.

Director: Robert Florey
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Gene Raymond, Genevieve Tobin
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Wealthy Polly Fulton marries a progressive scholar whose attitudes toward capitalism and acquired wealth puts their marriage in jeopardy.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Charles Coburn
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When the murdered body discovered by beautiful, vivacious socialite Melsa Manton disappears, police and press label her a prankster until she proves them wrong.

Director: Leigh Jason
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Sam Levene
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A Washington official courts a society matron who is trying to ignore the effects of World War II.

Director: Harold S. Bucquet
Stars: Edward Arnold, Fay Bainter, Richard Ney
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

London based American nurse, Susan, Lady Ashwood, is at the hospital awaiting the imminent arrival of injured soldiers. She is hoping that her enlisted son, Sir John Ashwood, who resembles ... See full summary »

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Irene Dunne, Alan Marshal, Roddy McDowall
Test Pilot (1938)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Jim is a test pilot. His wife Ann and best friend Gunner try their best to keep him sober. But the life of a test pilot is anything but safe.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy
Without Love (1945)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In World War II Washington DC, Jamie Rowan, enters a loveless marriage with scientist Pat Jamieson and becomes his assistant. Struggles bring them closer together.

Director: Harold S. Bucquet
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The career of a waitress takes off when she meets an amiable drunken Hollywood producer.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Constance Bennett, Lowell Sherman, Neil Hamilton
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Rita Wilson meets epidemiologist Chris Claybourne and they fall in love with each other. When Claybourne leaves for the tropics to find a cure against a disease, Wilson gets her revenge by ... See full summary »

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Taylor, Jean Hersholt
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Eddie sells his song to a Broadway producer and also lands a job dancing in the musical. He sends for his dance partner-fiancée Molly who brings her younger sister Pat. Upon seeing Molly ... See full summary »

Director: S. Sylvan Simon
Stars: Lana Turner, Joan Blondell, George Murphy
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Charles Barclay
...
Evelyn Gaylord
...
Ralph Pedloch
...
Gig Young
...
Susie Gaylord
...
Herschell Gibbon
...
Austin
...
Penn Sutherland Gaylord
...
Gilbert Wheeler
...
Dick Tone
...
Miss Ida Orner
Helene Thimig ...
Saskia (as Helen Thimig)
...
Judge Barrows
Charles Waldron ...
Mr. Van Rennseler (as Charles D. Waldron)
Edit

Storyline

Fiona, Evelyn and Susanna are sisters. Their mother dies on the Lusitania, their father is killed in France, they must manage their Fifth Avenue mansion by themselves. Fiona marries Charles Barclay in order to get an inheritance and he begins a campaign to obtain the mansion to level it for real estate development. She vows that this will never happen. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 August 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Três Herdeiras  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Byron Barr took his character's name, Gig Young, as his screen name. See more »

Quotes

Charles Barkley: Why don't you use a little common sense?
Fiona Gaylord: I hate common sense, it's so common.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Death in Hollywood (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Perfidia
(1939) (uncredited)
Music by Alberto Domínguez
Played on a record at Gig Young's place
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
2/3 of a great film
19 April 2002 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Three girls, the youngest descendents of the Gaylord family, one of America's most royal families, are orphaned at a young age. Right before he goes off to France to fight in WWI, their father tells the oldest, Fiona, never to sell the land. By the time the sisters have become adults, they have had to squander most of their money to pay for lawyers to defend their property. Through certain loopholes in the father's will, a man named Charles Barclay stands to gain possession of the Gaylord land, on which he wants to build a complex called Barclay Circle. Barclay is actually based on John D. Rockefeller, who was buying up land and buildings from affluent families in New York so he could build Rockefeller Center.

This film deals mostly with the melodramatic concerns of the three sisters. Fiona, well played by Barbara Stanwyck, although it's certainly not to be counted as one of her best roles, seems like a cold, domineering woman, and it becomes clear that she has some skeletons in her closet. Susanna, played by Nancy Coleman, is a little ditsy and completely in love with a young modern artist named Gig Young. Coleman's was my favorite performance in the film. Evelyn, played by Geraldine Fitzgerald, is a rather pretentious seductress with a monocle who married into noble blood in England, but that doesn't stop her from trying to steal Gig from her sister. The three sisters are developed quite well but, as is the major trend in The Gay Sisters, never well enough. Charles Barclay is played by George Brent. He isn't very good. Well, he would be satisfactory if the story had played out the way it should have, but he always seems like a scumbag in the film. When we're asked to sympathize with him late in the film, it's impossible. Gig Young is played by, huh?, Gig Young. No, he's not playing himself. What happened is that the actor, who had acted in several movies previously under his real name, Byron Barr, was pressured by Warner Brothers to change his name to something more catchy. I'm not sure who made the final choice, but he eventually changed his screen name to Gig Young, after the character whom he plays in The Gay Sisters. Weird, eh? Young is quite good through most of the film, but the script does some unfortunate things with his character late in the film which ultimately harm the audience's sympathy for him. In two other supporting roles, Helen Thimig and Gene Lockhart are quite good.

The Gay Sisters had great potential to turn out to be one of the great cinematic family sagas. The characters are all interesting, as are their situations. Unfortunately, the script never strives for anything more than the simplest melodrama. If it had made the interrelationships of all the major characters more complex, fleshed out, for example, the rivalry between Evelyn and Susanna or made the flashback more intricate, the film could have been fantastic. It also could have fleshed out the prologue more, let us know more about the Gaylord family. We need to care more about the characters and we need to sympathize with them more. And the ending needed some major fixing. It basically just gives up at the end. Fiona's problems are solved so poorly that it hurts. Whatever sympathy her character had gained as the film progressed falls apart. It's also far too happy. This story seems moving towards tragedy, or maybe just a sense of historical significance or loss. And we still hate Barclay. And the conflict between the two sisters and Gig is never solved. As bad as Fiona's story ends, Susanna's, Gig's, and Evelyn's is even worse.

I still liked the film. It's thoroughly watchable, even if it doesn't involve us like other great films of the era. 7/10, mostly for its potential. It should have been remade, or the novel should have been re-adapted, at some point during the studio era. It is too dated to be remade now. The 1950s would have been the best time, during the time of films like Giant.


22 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?