The Hard Way (1943)

Passed   |    |  Drama, Musical, Romance


The Hard Way (1943) Poster

Embittered, ambitious Helen Chernen sees an opportunity to escape her drab small-town life by becoming a 'stage mother' to her musically-talented younger sister.


7.1/10
1,090

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Awards

2 wins.

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


10 March 2005 | churei
9
| Superb Acting Better than Script!!
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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