The Hard Way (1943)

108 or 111 mins | Melodrama | 20 February 1943

Director:

Vincent Sherman

Producer:

Jerry Wald

Cinematographer:

James Wong Howe

Editor:

Thomas Pratt

Production Designer:

Max Parker

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

A Feb 1942 press release announced that Olivia De Havilland, John Garfield and Jeffrey Lynn would star in the film. SAB ascribes the screenplay credit to Irwin Shaw and Daniel Fuchs, and lists Peter Viertel only as a contributor to screenplay construction. According to a 15 May 1977 letter from Fuchs, who received an onscreen screenwriting credit with Viertel, however, the SAB listing is incorrect. The letter confirms the credits as given onscreen. Ida Lupino won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Actress of 1943 for her performance in the film. A radio version of this film was broadcast by Lux Radio Theatre on 20 Mar 1943, and starred Miriam Hopkins and Franchot ... More Less

A Feb 1942 press release announced that Olivia De Havilland, John Garfield and Jeffrey Lynn would star in the film. SAB ascribes the screenplay credit to Irwin Shaw and Daniel Fuchs, and lists Peter Viertel only as a contributor to screenplay construction. According to a 15 May 1977 letter from Fuchs, who received an onscreen screenwriting credit with Viertel, however, the SAB listing is incorrect. The letter confirms the credits as given onscreen. Ida Lupino won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Actress of 1943 for her performance in the film. A radio version of this film was broadcast by Lux Radio Theatre on 20 Mar 1943, and starred Miriam Hopkins and Franchot Tone. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Sep 1942.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 42
p. 19.
Motion Picture Herald
19-Sep-42
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 Jul 42
p. 796.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Sep 42
p. 923.
New York Times
13 Mar 43
p. 9.
Variety
23 Sep 42
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Bill Hopper
David Willock
Bud McCallister
James Metcalf
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Mont
DANCE
Dance numbers staged and dir by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Love to Dance," "Was I Blue," "She's a Latin from Manhattan" and "Goodnight My Darling," music and lyrics by M. K. Jerome and Jack Scholl.
DETAILS
Release Date:
20 February 1943
Production Date:
late February--mid June 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
26 June 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12117
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
108 or 111
Length(in feet):
9,821
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

When the police question a woman they have pulled from a river after a suicide attempt, she admits that her name is Helen Chernen, but does not explain why she wants to kill herself. As she lays dying, however, she recalls the events that led her from the industrial town of Greenhill to this desperate moment: After their mother dies, Helen rears her younger sister, Katherine Blaine. When Helen's husband Sam refuses to buy Katie a special dress for her high school graduation, Helen vows to give her sister a better life. One evening, Katie attends a vaudeville performance with Johnny Gilpin and is enthralled by the performance of song-and-dance team Paul Collins and Albert Runkel. Later, at a soda fountain, Katie announces her intention to become an actress and does an imitation of Collins and Runkel. Unknown to Katie, Paul and Albert enter the soda fountain and see her performance. Albert is charmed by Katie and invites her to dance on the theater stage. When Albert drops Katie at home late that night, an irate Helen orders him to leave her sister alone. Later, however, Helen changes her mind and encourages Albert's interest, and shortly, he marries Katie. When Katie, Albert and Paul leave town, Helen goes with them. Helen works unceasingly to increase Katie's part in the act and eventually forces Paul to leave. After a while, Katie is offered a part in a revue without Albert. At first she refuses to go without him, but finally accepts at his insistence. Paul tells Helen that he has developed a kind of admiration for her cold ambition and ... +


When the police question a woman they have pulled from a river after a suicide attempt, she admits that her name is Helen Chernen, but does not explain why she wants to kill herself. As she lays dying, however, she recalls the events that led her from the industrial town of Greenhill to this desperate moment: After their mother dies, Helen rears her younger sister, Katherine Blaine. When Helen's husband Sam refuses to buy Katie a special dress for her high school graduation, Helen vows to give her sister a better life. One evening, Katie attends a vaudeville performance with Johnny Gilpin and is enthralled by the performance of song-and-dance team Paul Collins and Albert Runkel. Later, at a soda fountain, Katie announces her intention to become an actress and does an imitation of Collins and Runkel. Unknown to Katie, Paul and Albert enter the soda fountain and see her performance. Albert is charmed by Katie and invites her to dance on the theater stage. When Albert drops Katie at home late that night, an irate Helen orders him to leave her sister alone. Later, however, Helen changes her mind and encourages Albert's interest, and shortly, he marries Katie. When Katie, Albert and Paul leave town, Helen goes with them. Helen works unceasingly to increase Katie's part in the act and eventually forces Paul to leave. After a while, Katie is offered a part in a revue without Albert. At first she refuses to go without him, but finally accepts at his insistence. Paul tells Helen that he has developed a kind of admiration for her cold ambition and then makes a pass, but when she responds, he dismisses her. Albert and Paul now resume their old act and Katie moves from the chorus to a starring role in the revue thanks to Helen's manipulation. On opening night, Katie is such a success that famous playwright Laura Bithorn resolves to write a play for her. When Albert calls to congratulate her, Helen forces her to hang up. Paul then advises Albert to go to New York immediately, but when Albert arrives at a party in Katie's honor and begs her to return to him, she quarrels with him, and he leaves despondent. While Katie becomes more famous, Albert's act fails. After a theater owner suggests that Albert capitalize on his relationship to Katie, he kills himself. Albert's death affects Katie on a deep level, and she starts drinking heavily, until finally, her producer decides to find another actress for Laura's play. Determined not to let this happen, Helen decides to produce the play herself. She and Katie join Laura for drinks and encounter Paul in the bar. While Helen discusses business with Laura, Katie joins Paul, who is now leading a popular band. Later, Katie visits Paul at the resort where he is working. They spend the next three weeks together, and Paul proposes marriage. Helen arrives at the resort, unaware that Paul is also there, and when she learns that they plan to get married, she is deeply unhappy. She points out that she has invested all her money in the play, and even though Paul insists that Katie break away from Helen before she is destroyed, Katie refuses to walk out on her sister, and Paul breaks their engagement. On opening night, Paul comes to see Katie, but Helen sends him away. When Katie learns this, she runs after him, but cannot find him. She then accuses Helen of wanting Paul for herself, and is so upset that she breaks down on stage. Later, she tells Helen that she never wants to see her again and rejoins Paul. Helen is left totally alone and broke. Back at the river, Helen dies without answering the policeman's question. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.