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The Dolly Sisters

The Dolly Sisters(1945)


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In 1904, Hungarian sisters Yansci and Roszika Dolly immigrate to America with their uncle Latsie, and their first stop is a New York City restaurant run by Latsie's friend, Ignatz Tsimmis. To amuse themselves, the girls dance as the restaurant's band plays folksongs, much to the delight of the patrons. In 1912, the girls, now grown, are called Jenny and Rosie, and still love to dance and sing popular songs at Tsimmis'. Needing money to pay Uncle Latsie's debts, Jenny and Rosie persuade Tsimmis to book them elsewhere, and he gets them a job in upstate New York. On the train, the sisters meet singer Harry Fox, who lies about how successful he is, and he is chagrined to discover later that he has been billed below the unknown sisters and Professor Winnup's educated seal. Harry overcomes his embarrassment and over the next several days, romances Jenny. The couple fall in love despite Rosie's dislike of Harry, and on the day the Dollys leave, Jenny promises Harry that she will wait for him. Back in New York City, the sisters try to advance their career but have no luck, until one day, they meet Harry again. Harry and Jenny are delighted to be reunited, and Harry assures the girls that, with his help, they can catch the eye of impressario Oscar Hammerstein, who is looking for exotic acts. Harry installs the girls in an expensive hotel suite and clothes them in lavish outfits, then arranges for Hammerstein to visit. Re-assuming their Hungarian accents, the girls audition for Hammerstein, who is so impressed by them that two weeks later, they are starring in one of his shows. By 1915, Rosie and Jenny are very successful and are about to embark on their first tour of Paris. One day, Harry visits Jenny and admits that he wishes to end their relationship because she has hit the big time while he is still struggling. They resolve their problems though, when song publisher Sam Harris admires one of Harry's compositions, and Jenny retires to marry Harry. On the eve of Harry's first Broadway show, however, he enlists in the Army and is sent overseas. Jenny then accompanies Rosie to Paris, and the Dolly Sisters conquer the Folies Bergere. They then become the toast of London, where Jenny attracts the attention of Tony, the Duke of Breck. A magazine photograph of the couple enrages Harry, who goes to see Jenny while on leave. Harry, who is returning to the United States, demands that Jenny come with him, but she cannot leave Rosie, as they have signed with the Folies Bergere for another season. The heartbroken Jenny files for divorce after Harry leaves her, then immerses herself in a whirlwind of performing, gambling and refusing Tony's marriage proposals. Meanwhile, Rosie has fallen in love with American department store owner Irving Netcher. Back in New York, Harry achieves success and pursues the beautiful Lenora Baldwin. One night, Jenny overhears Rosie tell Irving that they must wait to be married, and in order to free Rosie, Jenny agrees to marry Tony. As they are driving to town for the ceremony, however, Jenny's emotions disorient her and she drives the car off a cliff. Tony is unharmed by the accident, but Jenny is seriously disfigured. On the night that he becomes engaged to Lenora, Harry learns of Jenny's accident, and Jenny is comforted by the telegram he sends. Jenny urges Rosie to marry Irving immediately, and after the couple leave on their honeymoon, Jenny's beauty is saved through plastic surgery. Rosie and Irving soon welcome Jenny to New York, although they are dismayed to discover that she has sold her jewelry to pay her medical bills. Irving agrees to allow Rosie to return to the stage with Jenny, and the sisters are soon appearing at an all-star benefit. Harry is also on the bill, and when Lenora sees Harry watching Jenny, she realizes that he still loves her. Lenora then tells Rosie that she will not be marrying Harry, and watches as Harry invites Jenny to join him onstage for a song. The couple reconcile as they sing together, and happily gesture for Rosie to join them.