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Sunday, November 25, 2018

My Sister Eileen (1955)

Two sisters arrive from a small town in Ohio to Greenwich Village in New York where they hope to pursue careers. One (Betty Garrett) wants to be a writer while the other (Janet Leigh) has ambitions of being an actress. Based on a series of semi autobiographical short stories published in the New Yorker by Ruth McKenney which later became a 1940 Broadway play then made into a 1942 film and eventually a 1953 Broadway musical. The musical's creators wanted a larger sum of money than Columbia was willing to shell out so they hired Leo Robin (GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES) and Jule Styne (GYPSY) to write new songs. Coming full circle, the film is directed by Richard Quine who co-starred in the 1940 Broadway show and the 1942 film. The result is a charming and nimble musical with Leigh (who acquits herself nicely in the dance numbers) and Garrett particularly delightful. The songs aren't particularly memorable but what is memorable is the sensational Bob Fosse (who also plays Leigh's soda jerk boyfriend) choreography! The dance highlight is the dance duel between Fosse and Tommy Rall (KISS ME KATE), no slouch in the dance department himself.  With Jack Lemmon, Kurt Kasznar, Dick York, Lucy Marlow and Richard Deacon. 

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