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The Hard Way (1943)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Musical, Romance  |  20 February 1943 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 718 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 4 critic

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.



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Paul Collins
Katherine 'Katie' Blaine
Albert Runkel
Lily Emery
Ice Cream Parlor Waitress
John 'Jack' Shagrue


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sister LOVE...and HATE! See more »


Drama | Musical | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 February 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A nehéz út  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Several actors with their character names listed in studio records and/or casting call lists were not seen in the movie. These were Eddie Coke (Variety Ad Taker), Frank Faylen (Policeman), Howard M. Mitchell (Policeman), Joel Davis (Jimmy, Six Years), Wilbur Mack (Stage Manager), Monte Blue (Assistant Stage Manager), Frances Morris (Telephone Operator) and Merrillee Lannon (Western Union Clerk). See more »


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 »


Laura Britton: [With unintentioned irony to Helen and Katie] You know, you're the only two sisters I've met who never quarrel. It's a beautiful thing!
See more »


Referenced in American Me (1992) See more »


Begin the Beguine
(1935) (uncredited)
Written by Cole Porter
Played on a record
See more »

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User Reviews

Ida Lupino excels in archetypal tinsel-and-ashes melodrama
19 November 2001 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

The siren lure of show business must have had a more irresistible song in the days when stars, in the flesh, came right to towns like Pocatello, Idaho and Biloxi, Mississippi. The dreams were delivered fresh and piping hot, not through the many scrims of television and movie screens, and not through the machinations of crafty publicists and a fawning press. That's the milieu of Green Hill, a sooty steeltown where Helen Chernen (Ida Lupino) has cut her losses and her hopes until her little sister (Joan Leslie) gets a whiff of the greasepaint and hears the roar of the crowd. Lupino up and leaves her laborer husband to propel sis right to the boulevard of broken dreams. First steps on the stampede to the top are the mediocre vaudeville duo of Jack Carson and Dennis Morgan; Leslie marries Carson but leaves him in the dust at Lupino's bidding. Soon Leslie is poised to be the toast of all Broadway, but the tinsel is turning to ashes, and she's turning against her unstoppable bulldozer of a big sister. The bookends of this story told in flashback involve an ermine wrap, a pier on New York's waterfront, and a couple of New York cops....You get the idea. The Hard Way still packs a punch (after all these years), if a punch somewhat softened with a tinge of nostalgia. This is one of Lupino's strongest roles (along with Lily in Road House), and at her best she makes you wonder why she didn't achieve the superstardom of a Davis, a Hepburn, or a Stanwyck. She's just that good.

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