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Four Daughters (1938)

Approved | | Drama, Music, Romance | 9 August 1938 (USA)
Adam Lemp, the Dean of the Briarwood Music Foundation, has passed on his love of music to his four early adult daughters - Thea, Emma, Kay and Ann - who live with him and his sister, the ... See full summary »

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Julius J. Epstein (screen play), Lenore J. Coffee (screen play) (as Lenore Coffee) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Claude Rains ... Adam Lemp
Jeffrey Lynn ... Felix Deitz
John Garfield ... Mickey Borden
Frank McHugh ... Ben Crowley
May Robson ... Aunt Etta
Gale Page ... Emma Lemp
Dick Foran ... Ernest
Vera Lewis ... Mrs. Ridgefield
Tom Dugan ... Jake
Eddie Acuff ... Sam
Donald Kerr Donald Kerr ... Earl
Priscilla Lane ... Ann Lemp
Rosemary Lane ... Kay Lemp
Lola Lane ... Thea Lemp
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Storyline

Adam Lemp, the Dean of the Briarwood Music Foundation, has passed on his love of music to his four early adult daughters - Thea, Emma, Kay and Ann - who live with him and his sister, the girls' Aunt Etta, in the long time family home. Of the four, Kay has the greatest promise as a musical performer, specifically as a singer. Theirs is a loving family, however much the girls exasperate their father with their love of popular music, since he loves only the classics, most specifically Beethoven. The girls support each other however they can, but each is an individual with her own distinct personality and wants, including the type of man each wants as a husband. Practical but deep in her heart romantic Emma has long been courted by their next door neighbor, unassuming florist Ernest Talbot, and clever Thea wants to be Mrs. Ben Crowley, he a wealthy up and coming banker with prospects. Only the youngest, the fun loving Ann, states that she doesn't want to get married. Their collective ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

FANNIE HURST'S great masterpiece becomes the most beloved picture of the year! "Superb" say the critics!

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

9 August 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fire døtre See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Designed as a vehicle for Priscilla Lane, which also happened to have roles for her sisters, Lola Lane and Rosemary Lane. See more »

Quotes

Mickey Borden: I wouldn't win first prize if I were the only entry in the contest.
Ann Lemp: Mathematically speaking, I think you'd stand a fine chance.
Mickey Borden: You think they'd let me win?
Ann Lemp: Who?
Mickey Borden: They.
Ann Lemp: Who?
Mickey Borden: The fates, the destinies, whoever they are that decide what we do or don't get.
Ann Lemp: What do you mean?
Mickey Borden: They've been at me now nearly a quarter of a century. No let-up. First they said, "Let him do without parents. He'll get along." Then they decided, "He doesn't need any education. That's for sissies." Then right at the beginning...
See more »

Connections

Followed by Four Mothers (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Serenade
(1823) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Schubert
Sung by Rosemary Lane
See more »

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User Reviews

 
When Lightning Strikes
24 August 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

"Four Daughters" begins as just another clone of "Little Women" type melodrama. A single father with four musically talented eligible daughters has his hands full trying to keep them in line and guide them in their courting rituals. What turns the film around is the sudden appearance of a new Hollywood star, some critics say the first anti-hero long before James Dean graced the big screen. From the time the dark, foreboding figure of Mickey Borden (John Garfield) appears at Ann Lemp's (Priscilla Lane) gate splashing his self-pity and doomed philosophy on the rest of the cast, "Four Daughters" becomes much more than just a chick flick.

Though Garfield is the main reason to watch "Four Daughters," there are other flashes of brilliance to enjoy. Hungarian-born director Michael Curtiz, later responsible for such gems as "Casablanca" and "Mildred Pierce," pinpoints certain images with his camera (aided by cinematographer Ernest Haller of "Rebel Without A Cause" fame) that sticks in the viewers mind, for example the screeching gate that Ann's first suitor, Felix Deitz (Jeffrey Lynn), swings on so merrily becomes symbolic of the shifts in moods and affections by those who use it.

That Garfield delivers the standout performance is obvious, but the rest of the cast keeps up with him most of the way. The underrated Jeffrey Lynn plays his role to perfection, as the neglected suitor whose love for his cherished Ann never falters even when she's with another man. Claude Rains, somewhat miscast as the father of the four coming-of-age young women, gives a fine portrayal of a set upon doting family head who gets lost in the shuffle. The three Lane Sisters, already famous for their musical abilities, turn into accomplished actresses, playing their parts well. A raft of supporting actors, including Dick Foran, Frank McHugh, May Robson, and Eddie Acuff, makes it all believable.

How opposites attract is part of the ploy for touching the quick of the viewer's imagination. Ann is the eternal optimist, even when she and Mickey are down and out. She always looks on the bright side and like so many caught in the pliers of the Great Depression in those days, she saw prosperity just around the corner. Mickey recites an entire list of bad things that have happened to him seeking company in his misery from Ann, which Ann refuses to do. Mickey expects to go out with a bolt of lightning striking him dead as he rounds the corner of life. Mickey has meager talent as a composer; Ann has talent to spare as a singer and musician. Ann is big on beauty; Mickey is big on personality in a warped sense of a way. And the differences go on and on. How all this is reconciled in the end is an important part of the movie, not to be missed.

See "Four Daughters" for John Garfield's doozy of an acting debut on the big screen. The only time he was better came seven years later when he again mesmerized the film goers with one of the greatest screen performances ever, as Frank Chambers in "The Postman Always Rings Twice," opposite the equally charismatic Lana Turner. But also watch "Four Daughters" to catch important elements that may be missed if too much concentration is placed on the star of the show.


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