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At the start of the film, set in 1939, the four sisters put up a map of the world to keep track of the soldiers' locations, but the map is contemporary from the year the film was made (1957), showing numerous nations that did not exist in 1939, for example: Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam (which would have been French Indochina in 1939), Indonesia (formerly the Dutch East Indies), Thailand (called Siam in 1939), and Pakistan (which was part of British India), among other countries. See more »
I have to admit, when I first heard of this film, I didn't think it would keep my interest or attention. The casting, albeit comprised of talented performers, seemed a little odd: 40 year old Fontaine and 13 year old Sandra Dee as sisters sounds a little far fetched, but the pairing actually plays out believably on screen. The age difference translates into a believable mother/daughter type of sisterly relationship, which is appropriate since Fontaine's character has been left to tend to her three sisters after her parents' death.
Preconceived notions aside, the story is a compelling one, centering around four sisters in WWII New Zealand. Fontaine, Dee, Jean Simmons, and Piper Laurie all turn in admirable performances as the Lesley sisters in a plot that can sometimes seem a little implausible, or at the very least, ahead of it's time. Paul Newman also co-stars as a Marine officer who plays a pivotal role in the lives of the sisters, namely Simmons' character.
Not the best role of any of the principal actors' careers, but definitely worth seeing, especially if you are drawn to WWII era dramas.
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