7.2/10
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29 user 4 critic

The Hard Way (1943)

Approved | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 20 February 1943 (USA)
Embittered, ambitious Helen Sherman sees an opportunity to escape her drab small-town life by becoming a 'stage mother' to her musically-talented younger sister.

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(screen play), (screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Paul Collins
...
Katherine 'Katie' Blaine
...
Albert Runkel
...
Lily Emery
...
Ice Cream Parlor Waitress
...
John 'Jack' Shagrue
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Storyline

Ambitious Helen Chernin (Ida Lupino) pushes her talented younger sister Katherine (Joan Leslie) into marriage with broken down song-and-dance man Albert Runkel (Jack Carson) so that the two women can leave the dirty steel town where they live. Runkel's partner Paul Collins (Dennis Morgan), however, sees through Helen's plan. Helen continues driving her sister's career and eventually Katherine becomes a star on Broadway, while Runkel and Collins' act flounders. Success soon goes to Katherine's head and she becomes a fast-living party girl. Time passes and Helen and Katherine run into Paul, now a successful band leader. He and Katherine soon fall in love. The two sisters eventually have a showdown on opening night of Katherine's latest show when Katherine discovers that Helen is also in love with Paul. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sisters face to face...one burning with love...the other seething with hatred! A story of crushing power! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 February 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A nehéz út  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although it has been claimed that longtime Warner contractee Monte Blue is not in the film, he is clearly visible in the final theatrical sequence sitting two seats to the left of Dennis Morgan. See more »

Goofs

Just moments after the opening night performance of a Broadway musical, several characters look at a print review of the show that appeared in weekly Variety. At that time, the publication did not run reviews of previews so there is now way this review could have appeared in print before curtain went down for first public performance. See more »

Quotes

Paul Collins: You feel good, don't you? Don't you ever wake up at night and say to yourself, 'Maybe there's something just a little poisonous about me?'
Mrs. Helen Chernen: Mind your business!
Paul Collins: [With thinly disguised contempt] You know, in a queer, crazy kind of a way I admire you. I like to watch you work. It's like watching the manuveurs of the atlantic Fleet... and after you've done something particularly mean and nasty, I'd like to take you in my arms and kiss you.
Mrs. Helen Chernen: [a little taken back] Hmmmp! That's a lovely unique. Is this ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Me (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

When My Dream Boat Comes Home
(uncredited)
Written by Cliff Friend and Dave Franklin
Played on piano after Shagrue announces Helen and Katie at the party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exceptional--sort of like Film Noir combined with A STAR IS BORN
9 November 2007 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This was an exceptional film--one that nearly earned a 9 and the deciding factor for me were the musical numbers which actually seemed to sometimes get in the way of the exceptional plot and acting. While this film was quite the coup for a young Joan Leslie, the real star of this film was Ida Lupino and this might just be her best performance. She plays an amoral and conniving woman who will do just about anything to make her younger sister (Leslie) a star--even use nice people like Jack Carson and Dennis Morgan to make it big. The fact that the script is so unrelenting in its way that it shows the depths to which Lupino would go made this a real standout film. Many other films of the day would have tried to soften her character more or give her a shot at redemption towards the end--a big mistake had they chosen to follow the typical formula of the day.

Aside from Lupino, the other standout actor in the film seemed to be Jack Carson, as his character had much more depth and was much more sympathetic than the usual brash character he played. Also, while their acting wasn't a huge standout, Morgan really belted out some excellent songs and I was surprised to see Leslie dance as well as she did (though I wonder if it really was her doing all the flips--you CAN'T see her face and it could have been a double).

Good, gritty entertainment--it's well worth a look.


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