- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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the hard way
- kevin sellers
Based on the life of that gorgon of all stage moms, Lela Rogers, (who, naturally, was among the founders of the nasty, red baiting outfit, The Motion Picture Alliance For The Preservation Of American Values, 'cause what value is more enshrined in Hollywood culture than "dog eat dog"?)) this story of a an older sister "guiding" her younger sibling's career in song, dance and drama, with all the grace and integrity of an assault rifle at a shopping mall, is good, tawdry, shlocky fun, thanks mostly to Ida Lupino's performance, which can best be called "controlled viper." Lupino uses her thin, serpent like body to great effect, going through most of the movie coiled and ready to strike at anyone who is even remotely perceived to be in the way of kid sister Joan Leslie's success. Also good is Jack Carson as Leslie's sad sack first husband, and chief victim of "Sis." His suicide scene, done in a swirl of self pity and sadness at being shunted aside by a wife he adores, is the best in the film, in my opinion. Having said that this film is fun, let me hasten to add that it is not all that good. Leslie's musical numbers are eminently forgettable, (as is her acting) leading one to the irony that all of Lupino's cruel wiles were employed in the service of mediocrity. Also off-putting is the sexism of Daniel Fuchs' and Peter Viertel's screenplay. Clearly, the message conveyed is that for a woman to be happy she needs to eschew the workplace, which is where Snake Ida lives, for a hubby and ten kids, which is what loving, handsome, slightly dull Dennis Morgan (who also has a not very memorable musical number) offers. Somehow, at film's end, when Leslie opts for multiple maternity, I suspect even 1943 female audiences whispered, "Better you than me, hon." Or most of 'em, anyhow. Give it a B minus.
The Hard Way
Standard hard-boiled drama from Warner Bros. Impressive performances from the cast, particularly Lupino and Carson, both fighting for Leslie's career and personal life. Weak, implausible story. Good, common Warner Bros. fare. I give it a 3/5.
Great Film,Thanks TCM & Ida Lupino
Ida Lupino is so much more an actress than Joan Leslie,I agree with Old Movie Fan.Everyone else shines but her.And what a heartbreaker what's done to Runkel.Jack Carson is great as always,never havig gotten the fame he deserved.
A Must See Show
- Donna L. Tolliver
Very impressive movie. It captured my attention the minute I saw it. If a movie does that in the first few minutes it has won me over.....Ida Lupino very beautiful....
A Must See!!
Wow! Very impressive acting by all. Jack Carson's performance is very touching. Dennis Morgan makes his character very interesting and complex. Gladys George as the falling star who is ruined by Ida Lupino gives a real a tour de force performance. Worth watching the movies just for her! Ida Lupino is also very beautiful when she gets rich and wears stylish clothes. A fascinating melodrama.
less than the sum of its parts
- old movie buff
I used to have a rush on Joan Leslie when I was in high school. I can't figure out why now. Can't sing. Can't dance. And can't act. Oh, well. The movie is enjoyable thanks to the talents of Lupino, Carson and Morgan. Although Lupino dominates, I liked he latter two, especially Carson. I doubt he ever gave a bad performance, no matter the movie genre.Should be made available on DVD --- an interesting bit of movie history.
A Must See!
- Laura J
How did I ever not hear of this movie or see it before? A movie that should be shown more often so more viewers can enjoy it like I did. Queen Ida Lupino, almost every movie you are in is great, I adore thee.LOL Jack Carson who is usually in comedies is actually great as a dramatic actor, and Dennis Morgan is quite good also. The storyline is so good and then to find out that it is loosley based on Ginger Rogers life, it makes you want to go back and watch it again. Like I said A Must See!
"The Hard Way" -nice movie
- Richard Jerome
It's very heartening to see the reactions to this somewhat overlooked film and to notice how it has acquired a kind of "cult following" in recent-years. Charles Busch, who chose it as a "fav" pretty-much nailed it: A strange hybrid of film-noir and "woman's picture" ala "Mildred Pierce".It's particularly gratifying for me, as my grandfather, songwriter M.K.Jerome, worked on the film, composing "Youth Must Have It's Fling" -- which is somewhat the center-piece of the story. (He also appears briefly, as "rehearsal pianist" in the scene with Gladys George). Of the many films he worked-on at the studio, this was one of his personal-favorites, and one of the few I ever heard him talk about directly in later years.I was present at a screening of this in Hollywood, several-years ago, honoring Joan Leslie and director Vincent Sherman. Prior to the film, Leonard Maltin read a telegram he had received that morning from Ida Lupino, saying how much she loved this assignment and extending her congratulations to her colleagues who were present. She died about a week later.Afterward, I introduced myself to Miss Leslie, and she spoke very warmly about my grandfather, and the work they had done together at Warners'.I know M.K. would have been very-pleased at how fondly this film is remembered.Best, Richard Jerome
Oh Fame, thou Cruel Mistress!
- free rock city
Tough-as-nails, comedy in wartime - disguised as backstage Noir but actually is some kind of working-class hybrid in equal parts of "All About Eve" and "Mildred Pierce". Fantastic performances, and even though it's easy to see why Lupino won the prize, there's hardly a weak performance, from Dunkel & Collins (the vaudeville "couer simple"-tons) on down to the many showbiz casualties who are held in such high regard in the film (and I'll wager, their best lines left IN the studio cut). "Cut it out", Dunkel tells Frenchie, shortly before his death in a nightclub. Cut it out Frenchie, indeed. (Oops, I spoiled it. But NOT REALLY.) Also contains an excellent "Vorkapitch"-type section. Oh Fame, thou Cruel Mistress! THIS FILM DEMANDS TO BE RELEASED ON DVD!