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My Sister Eileen (1955)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 985 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 11 critic

Ruth and her beautiful sister Eileen come to New York's Greenwich Village looking for "fame, fortune and a 'For Rent' sign on Barrow Street". They find an apartment (such as it is!), but ... See full summary »

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Ruth Sherwood and her sister, Eileen, have moved to 1935 Greenwich Village. They're surrounded by colorful Village characters (including an out-of-work football player known as the Wreck... See full synopsis »

Directors: Mel Ferber, Herbert Ross
Stars: Rosalind Russell, Sydney Chaplin, Jacquelyn McKeever
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Frank (as Robert Fosse)
...
...
Ted 'Wreck' Loomis (as Richard York)
Lucy Marlow ...
Helen
...
Barbara Brown ...
Helen's Mother
Horace McMahon ...
Police Officer Lonigan
Henry Slate ...
Second Drunk
Hal March ...
Pete - First Drunk
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Storyline

Ruth and her beautiful sister Eileen come to New York's Greenwich Village looking for "fame, fortune and a 'For Rent' sign on Barrow Street". They find an apartment (such as it is!), but fame and fortune are a lot more elusive. Ruth gets the attention of playboy publisher Bob Baker when she submits a story about her gorgeous sister Eileen. She tries to keep his attention by convincing him that she, (a "spinsterish old-maid writer") and the gorgeous, man-getting Eileen are one and the same person. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

That Joyous New Musical !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

22 September 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Gay Girls  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(magnetic prints) (RCA Sound Recording)| (optical prints) (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Instead of using the score of "Wonderful Town," the 1953 Broadway musical based on the "My Sister Eileen" stories by Ruth McKinney, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Columbia commissioned a brand new score with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Leo Robin. See more »

Goofs

When Eileen is dancing at El Morocco, she is wearing shoes with small heels. Later on that night when they dance at the bandstand, Eileen is wearing flat shoes. See more »

Quotes

Receptionist: Mr. Wallace, she isn't on the list.
Mr. Wallace: Don't be so technical, Miss Stevenson. Was America on Columbus' map?
See more »

Connections

Remake of My Sister Eileen (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

As Soon As They See Eileen
Music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Leo Robin
Performed by Betty Garrett
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best non-MGM musicals of the 1950's
19 April 2001 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

I first saw "My Sister Eileen" years ago as a kid. In the early 90's, I saw the film at a tribute to Betty Garrett at which she was present to answer questions. I found her to be a wonderful person full of humor and warm remembrances of her co-stars and experience in Hollywood. She talked candidly about the blacklist that kept her and husband Larry Parks out of films for several years until she made this film, but did not show any signs of bitterness over the experience. What a wonderful lady!

Anyway, the film still holds up 46 years later as a fresh and entertaining remake of the Rosalind Russell film of the 40's which I have yet to see. Russell had done the Broadway musical version, "Wonderful Town", which was also done as a TV special some time during the 50's as well. Since Leonard Bernstein was not willing to let his music go without a huge price, Columbia instead hired Jule Styne to write the music. I have seen the TV version of "Wonderful Town" which is enjoyable, but this film brings the story to life in color and with beautiful location footage of New York's Greenwich Village. Shots of the surrounding area including the famous Washington Square make this a must for lovers of the Big Apple. Having visited Greenwich Village several times in the past couple years, I was amazed by how much it has NOT changed! This aspect alone makes "My Sister Eileen" seem as fresh today as it was during its initial release.

As Eileen, Janet Leigh is perky and lovable, but it is Betty Garrett who steals the scene as Ruth with her wonderfully likable personality. The not-so-plain jane, Garrett is a struggling writer who comes to New York from Ohio with her pretty sister (Leigh) whom all the boys go gaga over, making Ruth feel unattractive. Before you know it, Eileen has the attentions of sweet Bob Fosse and scoundral Tommy Rall, while Ruth finds herself attracted to publisher Jack Lemmon. In only his third year in Hollywood films, Lemmon had proved himself to be a versitile actor. This was one of three musical remakes he did at Columbia during the mid 50's. The other two were "Three For the Show" (a remake of "Too Many Husbands") and "You Can't Run Away From It" (a remake of "It Happened One Night"). He sings one song ("It's Bigger Than You or Me"), and doesn't do too badly!

Then, there are two other characters who fit into the storyline: shyster landlord Kurt Kasznar, and athlete neighbor Dick York (of "Bewitched" fame). Kasznar, Rall, and Fosse had all appeared together in MGM's "Kiss Me Kate". Rall and Fosse's rival dance shows the potential of the future Broadway legend Fosse who went onto create the dances in such memorable musicals as "Pippin" and "Chicago" (as well as direct several classic musical films). Fosse's creative touch is clearly visible here.

The musical highlight is the "Give Me a Band" number with a tipsy Garrett leading Leigh, Rall, and Fosse in a dance number with invisible musical instruments. The other songs are hardly classics, but in this film, that just doesn't matter; the shear magic of New York's Greenwich Village and the wonderful stars make this an all-time classic.

In comparing this to "Wonderful Town", I can say listening to the Original Broadway Cast and viewing the video of the TV special, I would like to have seen Bernstein's songs in the film as compared to Jule Styne's. The production number of "Christopher Street" (which is not even mentioned in this film) is ironic considering that 15 years after it was written, Christopher Street would become part of another legend: the Stonewall riots for Gay and Lesbian rights. Then, there are two other production numbers lead by Russell: "Swing" and "Conga", which is done in "My Sister Eileen" as a non-sung dance number. Eileen, as played by Edie Adams, comes off as unknowingly selfish, while Leigh's Eileen is a seemingly goody-goody miss perfect. Russell and Garrett are both perfect as Eileen, and I am glad that Garrett had the chance to play the part which Russell had already done on film the decade before.


16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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