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Sisters Louise Elliott, Helen Elliott and Grace Elliott - the daughters of pharmacist Ned Elliott and his wife Rose Elliott - are considered the most attractive and desirable young women in 1904 Silver Bow, Montana. The eldest Louise is the smart, practical one who is pre-engaged to stuffy Tom Knivel, middle daughter Helen is the one who wants excitement in her life regardless of love, and youngest Grace is the naive one. Louise's practicality is why it is somewhat of a surprise when she immediately falls in love with newspaper sportswriter and aspiring novelist Frank Medlin, marries him and runs off with him to his home base of San Francisco. Long pursuing him, Helen marries wealthy older Sam Johnson, who she doesn't love, but who can provide the exciting lifestyle she wants. And Grace, nursing his broken heart, marries Tom. As each sister endures the problems in her marriage - Louise's whose becomes the most obvious as Frank drowns whatever his problems in life in a bottle of booze,...Written by
Bette Davis (as Louise Elliott) is a Montana woman who marries San Franciscan sports reporter Errol Flynn (as Frank Medlin). Her sisters Anita Louise (as Helen), and Jane Bryan (as Grace) marry at the same time; the three sisters find wedded bliss is short-lived. Supporting floozies Lee Patrick and Laura Hope Crews are a very well-matched mother and daughter tag-team who befriend the deserted "Louise".
Whatever the film's original intentions may have been, it is really about ONE sister; naturally, it's the sister played by Bette Davis, and HER marriage to the character played by Errol Flynn. The stars are in fine form as the love-struck young couple who hit on hard times. Ms. Davis is refreshing as a housewife who becomes ill in a smoke-filled boxing arena, and Mr. Flynn is convincing as the husband who drinks to heal his wounded pride. Flynn asks a significant question about his character: why did marriage make his wife strong, and himself weak? Similarly, the objective of "The Sisters" as a film is strong, and the story weak. Yet, the production level is high; and, historical events like Presidential elections (Roosevelt, Taft) and the San Francisco earthquake are used to great advantage.
****** The Sisters (1938) Anatole Litvak ~ Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Anita Louise
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