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 ... See full summary »
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie is based on the real-life experiences of Ruth McKinney, and her sister Eileen. In 1934, Ruth and Eileen McKinney moved to New York from Columbus, Ohio. They rented a $45-a-month basement apartment at 14 Gay Street in Greenwich Village, above the Christopher Street subway station. Ruth wrote about their eccentric neighbors and the trials of living in a basement apartment in her column titled, "My Sister Eileen," which was published in the "New Yorker" (called "The Manhattaner" in the movie). As seen in the film, "New Yorker" editor Harold Ross was at first reluctant to publish Ruth McKinney's columns, preferring to keep his magazine a "High Society" publication, but he eventually relented. Ruth's columns were gathered in a book, "My Sister Eileen," which was published in 1938. Eileen McKinney moved to Los Angeles, where she married novelist and screenwriter Nathaniel West (author of the perennial Hollywood novel, "The Day of the Locust"). Unfortunately, Eileen McKinney and Nathanael West were both killed in a car accident in Los Angeles on December 22, 1940, only four days before they were scheduled to attend the Broadway opening of the play, "My Sister Eileen." Ruth McKinney died in 1972 at age 60. See more »
When Bob puts Ruth in the taxicab outside of the police station, the shadow of the boom mic can be seen moving across the hood of the cab. See more »
It's a circus, but you don't need an admission ticket. You can even peek in from the street and catch all the antics on your way to work. It's Ruth and Eileen's sub-level flat, and rents for only $48 a month with open grillwork onto a chaotic Greenwich Village street scene. Are these two ambitious Mid-western sisters ready for a pro-football player who sleeps over, a fast-talking landlord who paints like a Dodo bird, and a mysterious stranger who walks in and refuses to leave, Then there's the battalion of Portuguese naval cadets who mistake the flat for a dance studio. It's all part of this wacky, fast-paced take on Life in the Big City.
It's all good, innocent fun of course with a tempo that seldom falters, and when things do slow, there's always an underground jolt to mix it up again. Naturally, Rosalind Russell as the caustic older sister gets all the good throw-away lines, while Janet Blair as Eileen gets all the wolf whistles. Then there's the assorted characters-- Gordon Jone's trademark good-natured galoot, George Tobias' fractured ethnic type, and Chick Chandler's silent stranger more creepy than humorous. And, of course, no urban scene of the day would be complete without the bulldog-face of Donald McBride as the ever cranky cop. Together, they turn the flat into a stopover on the way to the funny farm. I expect more than a few Mid-Westerners packed up for New York hoping to get a share of madcap city life.
On a more serious note, the movie was made at a time when the "common touch" was being celebrated in popular culture. After all, it would take a combined national effort to defeat the Axis powers. So, it's not surprising that many movies celebrated the America of the "melting pot", complete with ethnic types, blue-collar characters, and frequent references to Brooklyn, the symbol of the melding.
Anyway, it's still a fun movie even if some skits do strain a bit. I guess the moral is that no city is too big for the talented. And especially, for the shapely. Then too, make sure to stick around for a very last scene that could not be more inspired or appropriate.
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