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William A. Seiter
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Sisters Ruth and Eileen Sherwood move from Ohio to New York in the hopes of building their careers. Ruth wants to get a job as a writer, while Eileen hopes to succeed on the stage. The two end up living in a dismal basement apartment in Greenwich Village, where a parade of odd characters are constantly breezing in and out. The women also meet up with magazine editor Bob Baker, who takes a personal interest in helping both with their career plans. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
Rosalind Russell and Janet Blair are the Sherwood sisters, who come to New York City to seek their fortune in "My Sister Eileen," a 1942 film directed by Alexander Hall. "My Sister Eileen" was originally a novel by Ruth McKinney that was made into a Broadway play by George S. Kaufman and starring Shirley Booth, later a Broadway musical (also starring Rosalind Russell) called "Wonderful Town," and then a different musical film, again called "My Sister Eileen." Finally, it was a TV series. I guess Broadway and Hollywood got some mileage out of the novel.
The story concerns two sisters from Ohio who wind up living in Greenwich Village on Barrow Street. Ruth needed to leave Ohio; her rave review of her sister Eileen's performance in "A Doll's House" was published, but Eileen didn't play the role that night. The apartment has a few problems, one of which is the nearby subway, another is people who talk to them through the drapeless basement window, and another is the people that either follow the pretty, vivacious Eileen or whom she brings home. Finally, it looks as if Ruth gets a break when the editor of the Manhattaner, Bob Baker (Brian Aherne), likes her writing.
This is a really sweet comedy, and having lived in the Village for 30 years, I always enjoy a film that's set there. The best scene is the conga line with the sailors, in an attempt to get them out of the apartment.
Rosalind Russell's wonderful comedic skills and dry delivery work beautifully here, and when she appeared in the same role in "Wonderful Town," her reviews were sensational, and she won the 1953 Tony award. Once the '40s hit, she played smart, independent women; in the '30s, she did everything, including a few Garbo-esque turns. As the innocent man magnet Eileen, Janet Blair is very good, though I admit to liking Janet Leigh in the musical version better. Richard Quine repeats his Broadway role here, and he later directed the 1955 musical film. George Tobias is the girls' conniving landlord.
Fun movie, set in a time when you could get an apartment in New York City for $35-40 a month!
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