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In 1904, Uncle Latsie comes to New York from Hungary with two little nieces, who immediately take to cafe dancing. In 1912 they're still at it, but to pay Uncle's card debts they decide to go into vaudeville. Singer Harry Fox, whom they meet en route, schemes to get them an audition with the great Hammerstein; but their resulting success takes them far out of Harry's league. Lots of songs with a little story.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Betty Grable and June Haver are "The Dolly Sisters" in this 1945 film also starring John Payne, S.Z. Sakall and Reginald Gardner. Grable enjoyed an unparalleled run - 10 years in a row - in the Hollywood top ten box office, from 1941 to 1951, yet when Turner Classic Movies published their Unforgettable Leading Ladies of the Studio Era book, Grable was left out. For anyone who believes - erroneously - that Turner Classic Movies has any interest in film history, she was left out - just as Tyrone Power was left out of the leading men book - because TCM doesn't own their films.
Not realizing that for a huge audience later on, it wouldn't exist, 20th Century Fox spared no expense for this lavish color musical about two real-life Hungarian sisters (actually brunettes) who were big entertainers in the beginning of the century. The story focuses on Jenny Dolly (Grable) primarily and her romance and marriage to Ziegfeld performer Harry Fox (inventor of the "fox trot"), played by John Payne, and how World War I and career separations destroyed their marriage.
Grable and Haver look just like sisters and are marvelous together, wearing gorgeous costumes and looking fabulous and radiant throughout. Both bring a lot of energy to their roles. Payne does a good job as Harry, singing and acting well. A versatile actor, he could not only appear in musicals where he did his own singing, but he did plenty of drama and was also a hunk. He was invaluable to Fox during the war years.
This is a very entertaining film, but it's a shame that a film on the true story of the Dolly Sisters has never been made. Jenny and Fox were divorced in 1921. She was indeed involved in a car accident with an ex-boyfriend in 1933 and had to sell her jewels to pay for many surgeries, but unlike the film, she never really recovered. She never reconciled with Fox and in 1941, she hung herself. Rosie did marry a Chicago businessman; she attempted suicide in 1962, though it failed, and she died in 1970. The two women were huge gamblers, only hinted at in the film, and made a fortune: They won $850,000 in one season at Deauville and one evening in Cannes, Jenny won 4 million francs, which she converted to a collection of jewelry, and then went on to win another 11 million more francs.
I suppose during World War II, no one would have been interested in such a downer, so it's just as well that we have this film, which gives us vibrant entertainment in the best 20th Century Fox tradition.
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