15 user 1 critic

Her Sister's Secret (1946)

Not Rated | | Drama | 23 September 1946 (USA)
A WWII tale of romance that begins during New Orlean's "Mardi Gras" celebration when a soldier and a girl meet and fall in love. He asks her to marry him but she decides to wait until his ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Pepe - New Orleans Cafe Owner
Bill Gordon
Mr. Dubois
New Orleans Wine Salesman
Winston Severn ...
Billy Gordon
Helene Heigh ...
Frances E. Williams ...
Mathilda (as Frances Williams)
Rudolph Anders ...


A WWII tale of romance that begins during New Orlean's "Mardi Gras" celebration when a soldier and a girl meet and fall in love. He asks her to marry him but she decides to wait until his next leave. He is sent overseas and she does not receive his letter and feels abandoned, but she does find out she is pregnant. She gives the child to her married sister and does not see her child again for three years. She returns to her sister's home to reclaim the child, and the soldier, who has been searching for her, also turns up. The sister is not interested in giving up the child. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sister | based on novel | See All (2) »


There are two ways a woman can love...IN GLORY and IN DESPAIR! These sisters knew them both!




Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

23 September 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Between Two Sisters  »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The book Toni is reading to her father is "Death Comes for the Archbishop" by Willa Cather (1873-1947). See more »


When Toni and Renee are walking into the apartment building discussing the agreement between the two of them, a moving shadow of a studio light is visible as the camera tracks them, and is also seen on the man passing in front of the camera. See more »

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User Reviews

good melodrama
2 August 2015 | by See all my reviews

We know from people like Bobby Darin and Jack Nicholson that, with the stigma of having an illegitimate child once so prevalent, the person you call "Mommy" might not be. Your real mother could in reality be your sister, your aunt, anybody.

In "Her Sister's Secret" from 1946, director Edgar Ulmer keeps this film out of maudlin territory and presents a poignant story of a mother's pain at having to give up her baby for her sister to raise.

Nancy Coleman stars as Toni, a young woman who meets a soldier, Dick (Philip Reed) during the New Orleans Mardi Gras. They fall in love, and he wants to marry her. They decide to wait until his next leave to be sure. When they part, they agree to meet, if they both feel the same, at a restaurant. Unbeknownst to her, his leave is canceled. He writes to her at the restaurant but the letter never reaches her. By then, she is pregnant.

Toni finally confides in her sister Renee (Margaret Lindsay). She and her husband (Regis Toomey) have not been able to have a child, so she offers to raise the baby as their own. Toni agrees, but in her heart, she never really gives up the baby. After her father dies, she starts literally stalking the child and his nurse, sitting in the park each day. Truly alone now, she makes a decision that is going to cause problems.

One can't help watching a film today and realizing how different things were when the film was made. Can you imagine someone sitting in a park each day, watching children, and a nurse handing you a kid and asking you to watch him for a minute? Like I suppose that happens. She would have been picked up by the police the minute someone notices she's there every day. We live in a much different society now.

Also, having an illegitimate child was tantamount to being a criminal, so bad you had to disappear, return later with someone else having taken your baby, or say you were married and your husband died, or end up in a home for unwed mothers. Nowadays people take out headlines announcing an unmarried pregnancy. Amazing.

Anyway, Toni is in terrible pain, and one can't help but feel for not only her, but all the women who went through that situation years ago. In Toni's case, because she believed Dick didn't love her, she could not get past losing the baby, Billy, too.

The Mardi Gras scenes are marvelous, showing the festivities and people's enjoyment.

The acting is very good, with Nancy Coleman giving a lovely performance as a heartbroken woman, and Margaret Lindsay as her sophisticated older sister. Philip Reed, who at some angles bears an eerie resemblance to Tyrone Power, is fine as the soldier who leaves without realizing he's going to be a father. Regis Toomey plays Lindsay's husband, and he comes off as a genuinely nice guy and a good man.

How wonderful that the little boy who played Billy, Winston Severn, has posted here with his reminiscences of the film. Though he was only four at the time, his memories are strong.

I really liked this film. The actors pulled me in, and it was well directed. Not the world's greatest production company, but it pulled off a winner.

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