My Sister Eileen
(Alexander Hall, 1942)
Two sisters from Ohio move to the Big Apple to seek their fortune, only to wind up jobless and in a Greenwich Village basement apartment. And, surprisingly, it gets kinda wacky!
The fish-out-of-water tale is dominated by Rosalind Russell, who gives everything she can. Too much, even. She tries to overcome some badly executed sequences by doing her patented eyeroll or her patented clumsy walk, as if she were in a screwball farce. If you love the comedienne as I do, you’ll forgive a lot, but you can’t help but feel that the supporting material and cast isn’t really up to par.
There are still some good laughs, and Russell earns most of them with picture-perfect delivery. For this role, she received a Oscar nomination, but lost to Greer Garson for Mrs. Miniver. The story was remade as a musical many times over, which might solve my problems with the dead patches in the plot. That’s it! If only the Portuguese sailors would’ve broken out into song! Brilliant!