7.2/10
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32 user 4 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.

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(screen play), (screen play)
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Mrs. Helen Chernen
... Paul Collins
... Katherine 'Katie' Blaine
... Albert Runkel
... Lily Emery
... Ice Cream Parlor Waitress
... 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:

Sister LOVE...and HATE! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 February 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A nehéz út  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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

Just moments after the opening night performance of a Broadway musical, several characters look at a print review of the show that appeared in weekly Variety. At that time, the publication did not run reviews of previews so there is now way this review could have appeared in print before curtain went down for first public performance. See more »

Quotes

Policeman at Hospital: [Last lines, leaving the hospital] Well, whattaya make of it?
Mac - Policeman at Hospital: Oh, some little something went wrong. She couldn't take it.
Policeman at Hospital: Yep! That's the trouble with them rich ones. They have it too easy all their lives.
Mac - Policeman at Hospital: Yep.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Me (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Am I Blue?
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Akst
Lyrics by Grant Clarke
Sung by Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson in their vaudeville act, Joan Leslie in the ice cream parlor
Played as background music often
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User Reviews

 
Joan Leslie cartwheels her way to fame!
6 September 2001 | by See all my reviews

This is a very enjoyable film, with a terrific central performance from Ida Lupino. But there are times when she seems to be working harder than she needs to, so that we see her acting. This is not surprising given the very light-weight performance given by Joan Leslie. Ida has to work very hard to get anything out of her. It's a shame, because I think a great actress in the Leslie role might have turned this film into an unforgettable exploration of sisterhood. Just imagine someone like Anne Baxter or Susan Hayward in the role. The really laughable sequence is the musical number that launches Leslie to stardom. It's a horrible piece of choreography and a very ordinary song, and the routine climaxes in Leslie doing some truly ridiculous cartwheels, that would have made her the laughing stock of Broadway. Instead she is the toast of the town, and a top playwright immediately offers to write a play for her! The climax of the film is also very silly, as anyone who has worked in the theatre would know. The actions of Morgan and Leslie here are completely unbelievable.

There are shades of ALL ABOUT EVE in THE HARD WAY - although the dialogue lacks the wit of Mankiewicz. It's good to see Carson and Morgan playing more meaty roles than usual - they were both top notch performers. But the best performance in the film is given by the wonderful Gladys George, who plays an ageing stage star manipulated out of her lead role by Lupino, to be replaced by Leslie. She is funny, touching and utterly convincing in a powerhouse cameo - can't imagine her doing those cartwheels though!


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