7.2/10
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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

Actor Bill Kennedy, who was the voice of the radio announcer in this film, became the host of his own movie show in the mid-to-late 1960's in the Detroit area, first on CKLW-TV (now CBET), Channel 9, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and then from the early 1970's to his retirement in the mid-1980's on WKBD-TV, Channel 50, in Detroit. Kennedy, who was under contract to Warner Bros. in the 1940's as a bit player, often ran old Warner Bros. films on his afternoon movie show; "The Hard Way" was indeed one of them. (Kennedy passed away in 1996.) See more »

Goofs

Near the end, when Paul walks in to see Helen and Katie (after Katie told Helen she and Paul were to be married), the shot goes from the sisters facing each other to standing shoulder to shoulder back to facing each other. See more »

Quotes

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 »


Soundtracks

Good Night, Oh My Darling
(1942) (uncredited)
Music by M.K. Jerome (credited)
Lyrics by Jack Scholl (credited)
Played by the band at the Oakmont Lodge
Sung by Dennis Morgan
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User Reviews

 
Geat Lupino performance.
13 August 2001 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

Vincent Sherman's 1943 'The Hard Way' stars Ida Lupino as an ambitious, manipulative woman who pushes her younger sister into a musical theater career, stopping at nothing to get her sister to the top. Despite her strong central performance, the film is a disappointment. It would have worked a lot better if it had been a backstage Hollywood story, like the original 'A Star Is Born,' rather then set in the world of vaudeville and the musical theater. The musical numbers were simply at odds with the typically gritty Warner Brothers 1940's production values. The film looked very noirish, and all that singing and dancing just didn't fit into the atmosphere director Sherman created. The film can't seem to make up it's mind what it wants to be, much to it's detriment.

However, Ida Lupino is first rate as the domineering older sister, who's single-minded determination to push her kid sister to the top ruins several lives, including her own. She's a perfect Warner Brothers actress, with a forceful screen personality that dominates a film much like the way Davis and Crawford did. I would not have named her best actress of the year, as the New York Film Critics did. But she's very good.

Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson also do marvelous work as a song and dance team, and the terrific Gladys George has a sad, touching vignette as an aging musical performer on the downside of her once successful career. She nearly steals the film right out from under Lupino with her moving performance in the small but flashy role. And while Joan Leslie, as the younger sister, was pretty enough and a competent actress, she's no Judy Garland (or even June Allyson, for that matter). It's quite hard to believe that she would be proclaimed the sensation of the New York musical theater world. More believable casting in the important role would have helped the film immeasurably.

All in all, the film is worth seeing for fans of the Warner Brothers melodramas of the 1940's. But as a star vehicle for one of their top studio actresses, it's not in the same league with Crawford's 'Mildred Pierce,' Davis' 'Now, Voyager,' or Lupino's final Warners film, 'Deep Valley.'


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