7.2/10
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32 user 5 critic

The Hard Way (1943)

Approved | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 20 February 1943 (USA)
Embittered, ambitious Helen Sherman sees an opportunity to escape her drab small-town life by becoming a 'stage mother' to her musically-talented younger sister.

Director:

Vincent Sherman

Writers:

Daniel Fuchs (screen play), Peter Viertel (screen play)
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ida Lupino ... Mrs. Helen Chernen
Dennis Morgan ... Paul Collins
Joan Leslie ... Katherine 'Katie' Blaine
Jack Carson ... Albert Runkel
Gladys George ... Lily Emery
Faye Emerson ... Ice Cream Parlor Waitress
Paul Cavanagh ... John 'Jack' Shagrue
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Storyline

Ambitious Helen Chernin (Ida Lupino) pushes her talented younger sister Katherine (Joan Leslie) into marriage with broken down song-and-dance man Albert Runkel (Jack Carson) so that the two women can leave the dirty steel town where they live. Runkel's partner Paul Collins (Dennis Morgan), however, sees through Helen's plan. Helen continues driving her sister's career and eventually Katherine becomes a star on Broadway, while Runkel and Collins' act flounders. Success soon goes to Katherine's head and she becomes a fast-living party girl. Time passes and Helen and Katherine run into Paul, now a successful band leader. He and Katherine soon fall in love. The two sisters eventually have a showdown on opening night of Katherine's latest show when Katherine discovers that Helen is also in love with Paul. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sisters face to face...one burning with love...the other seething with hatred! A story of crushing power! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 February 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A nehéz út See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Bette Davis was originally the first choice for the role of Helen Chernin but turned it down. Upon seeing the finished product, however, she mused, "How did I let that one get away?" See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film Dennis Morgan takes a seat to see Joan Leslie's play. He is seated next to a young woman. The next time the camera cuts to him he is in the same seat, but sitting next to an older woman wearing completely different clothing. See more »

Quotes

Paul Collins: [Looking around the train station] Wonder where that dumb partner of mine is. Boy, will I be glad to get him out of this town. Love has smitten him like a ten ton truck!
Ice Cream Parlor Waitress: Never hits you, does it?
Paul Collins: [Sarcastically] Every other Thursday, Baby.
See more »


Soundtracks

Youth Must Have Its Fling
(1942) (uncredited)
Music by M.K. Jerome (credited)
Lyrics by Jack Scholl (credited)
Played during the opening credits and at the end
Sung by Gladys George at rehearsal with piano accompaniment
Reprised at a show and sung and danced by Joan Leslie (dubbed by Sally Sweetland) and chorus
Sung on a record by Leslie
Played as background music often
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Superb Acting Better than Script!!
10 March 2005 | by chureiSee all my reviews

Rarely seen these days, and unavailable on tape, THE HARD WAY is a melodramatic gem, vaulted by five strong performances. True, the beginning looks as if we are going to watch 'Mildred Pierce', and, true, the ending is totally false if you know anything about the theater at all. Despite the script's weaknesses, this is a film to see, and I am glad that I have been able to obtain a copy. Ida Lupino is excellent as the grasping, obsessive, manipulative elder sister who pushes her younger sibling into show biz prominence. Lupino won the N.Y. Film Critics' honors but, surprisingly, was not nominated for an Oscar. It is a strong performance that, perhaps, needs a little shading here and there. Joan Leslie has an even more demanding role, however, in that her personality and growth is altered throughout the film. She is exquisite even though, as it often was in films of the 40's, the show-within-a-show sequences really are weak. Leslie's career ended because she was essentially blacklisted after she sued to get out of her Warner Bros. contract. (She had been considered to be the lead in 'The Constant Nymph' so some saw her emerging talents!). Jack Carson is remarkable, as he would be later in such films as 'The Tattered Dress'; Dennis Morgan gives his best acting work; and Gladys George, in a cameo, is wonderful even though it is evident the character is out-of-focus in terms of the way in which Broadway works (she never would have been given just one song in a revue). Vincent Sherman's direction is uniformly good in that it often leaps over plot contrivances and zeroes in on the performances. Leslie's acting abilities would be wasted until she free-lanced in REPEAT PERFORMANCE, BORN TO BE BAD (a better look at Broadway), and others. THE HARD WAY remains a forgotten and generally fine film.


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