Four Daughters (1938)

90 mins | Romance | 24 September 1938

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Cinematographer:

Ernest Haller

Editor:

Ralph Dawson

Production Designer:

John Hughes

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The onscreen credits list Priscilla Lane as "Pricilla Lane." The film's pre-release titles were Because of a Man and Sister Act. According to MPH, Errol Flynn was originally assigned to Jeffrey Lynn's part, but was replaced when he became ill. This was John Garfield's first major film role, and in it he established the screen personality he came to exploit in many other films. (Some modern sources state that the actor made a brief appearance in the movie Footlight Parade [1933, see entry], but that attribution has been disputed by biographer Robert Nott.) The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Direction. Garfield was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor. NYT named it one of the year's ten best films, and the National Board of Review named Garfield as one of the year's best actors. Modern sources add the following information about the production and credits: Michael Curtiz wanted Burgess Meredith to play Mickey, but he was working in Europe and was unavailable. Garfield modeled his performance on pianist Oscar Levant. Harry Warren, Al Dubin, Allie Wrubel, Elliot Grennard, Hugo Friedhofer, Heinz Roemheld and Bernard Kaun are credited with musical contributions. Max Rabinowitz composed "Mickey's Theme," and also played the piano off-screen during Garfield's performance. Ray Heindorf handled the orchestration. The film was so popular that two sequels were made, Four Wives in 1939, also directed by Curtiz (see below) and Four Mothers in 1941. Many of the cast of the film starred in another Warner Bros. film, Daughters Courageous ...

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The onscreen credits list Priscilla Lane as "Pricilla Lane." The film's pre-release titles were Because of a Man and Sister Act. According to MPH, Errol Flynn was originally assigned to Jeffrey Lynn's part, but was replaced when he became ill. This was John Garfield's first major film role, and in it he established the screen personality he came to exploit in many other films. (Some modern sources state that the actor made a brief appearance in the movie Footlight Parade [1933, see entry], but that attribution has been disputed by biographer Robert Nott.) The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Direction. Garfield was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor. NYT named it one of the year's ten best films, and the National Board of Review named Garfield as one of the year's best actors. Modern sources add the following information about the production and credits: Michael Curtiz wanted Burgess Meredith to play Mickey, but he was working in Europe and was unavailable. Garfield modeled his performance on pianist Oscar Levant. Harry Warren, Al Dubin, Allie Wrubel, Elliot Grennard, Hugo Friedhofer, Heinz Roemheld and Bernard Kaun are credited with musical contributions. Max Rabinowitz composed "Mickey's Theme," and also played the piano off-screen during Garfield's performance. Ray Heindorf handled the orchestration. The film was so popular that two sequels were made, Four Wives in 1939, also directed by Curtiz (see below) and Four Mothers in 1941. Many of the cast of the film starred in another Warner Bros. film, Daughters Courageous, released in 1939, which had an almost identical plot. Fannie Hurst's story was remade by Warner Bros. in 1954 as Young at Heart, a musical starring Doris Day, Dorothy Malone, Elizabeth Fraser and Frank Sinatra and directed by Gordon Douglas. In that film, the character played by Sinatra does not die.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Aug 1938
p. 3
Film Daily
10 Aug 1938
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 1938
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 1938
p. 3
Motion Picture Daily
10 Aug 1938
p. 2
Motion Picture Herald
21 May 1938
p. 37
Motion Picture Herald
13 Aug 1938
p. 59
New York Times
19 Aug 1938
p. 13
Variety
17 Aug 1938
p. 22
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Julius Epstein
Scr
Contr wrt
Contr to trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on short story "Sister Act" by Fannie Hurst in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan (Mar 1937)
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Serenade" by Franz Schubert.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Because of a Man
Sister Act
Release Date:
24 September 1938
Production Date:
18 Apr--4 Jun 1938
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
29 July 1938
LP8283
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4400
SYNOPSIS

Music professor Adam Lemp has four daughters, Thea, Emma, Kay and Ann. Thea feels that love is an overrated reason for marriage and plans to marry Ben Crowley for money. Emma is loved by shy, awkward Ernest, whom the family assumes she will marry. Kay, the only one of the four to have real musical amibition, is a singer. The youngest, at eighteen, is irrepressible Ann, who pledges with Emma that neither will marry, but will live together forever. This changes with the arrival of handsome Felix Deitz, a composer who has come to town to compete for a music prize. Adam invites Felix to live at the house, and all the girls immediately develop crushes on him. Mickey Bordon, a piano player, arrives to assist Felix in writing his compositions. Mickey has a glum attitude that offends most people. Only Ann and the girl's aunt Etta see through his moroseness to the lonely person underneath and befriend him. During a family excursion to the country, Felix proposes to Ann. When they announce their engagement, Mickey, who also loves Ann, is shattered and the other sisters are taken aback. Kay declares that she is leaving for Philadelphia to study singing. Thea, in turn, tells the family that she and Ben will also marry soon. Emma is the most upset, but she hides her feelings from Ann. Shortly before her wedding, Ann encounters Mickey, who confesses his love and informs her that Emma is in love with Felix. Ann is shocked. Then, thinking she can make both Mickey and Emma happy, she elopes with Mickey, leaving ...

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Music professor Adam Lemp has four daughters, Thea, Emma, Kay and Ann. Thea feels that love is an overrated reason for marriage and plans to marry Ben Crowley for money. Emma is loved by shy, awkward Ernest, whom the family assumes she will marry. Kay, the only one of the four to have real musical amibition, is a singer. The youngest, at eighteen, is irrepressible Ann, who pledges with Emma that neither will marry, but will live together forever. This changes with the arrival of handsome Felix Deitz, a composer who has come to town to compete for a music prize. Adam invites Felix to live at the house, and all the girls immediately develop crushes on him. Mickey Bordon, a piano player, arrives to assist Felix in writing his compositions. Mickey has a glum attitude that offends most people. Only Ann and the girl's aunt Etta see through his moroseness to the lonely person underneath and befriend him. During a family excursion to the country, Felix proposes to Ann. When they announce their engagement, Mickey, who also loves Ann, is shattered and the other sisters are taken aback. Kay declares that she is leaving for Philadelphia to study singing. Thea, in turn, tells the family that she and Ben will also marry soon. Emma is the most upset, but she hides her feelings from Ann. Shortly before her wedding, Ann encounters Mickey, who confesses his love and informs her that Emma is in love with Felix. Ann is shocked. Then, thinking she can make both Mickey and Emma happy, she elopes with Mickey, leaving Felix for her beloved sister. Emma and Felix do not marry, and shortly afterward, he leaves for Seattle. In New York, where they settle, Mickey and Ann face constant disappointments. Hoping to lift Mickey's spirits, the couple returns to the Lemps' at Christmas time. Everyone is home except Kay, who is singing that evening on the radio. Even Felix is visiting for the holidays. Emma tells Ann that she is engaged to Ernest, having fallen in love with him when he took care of the family after the elopement. Mickey notices that Ann and Felix are still in love, although they do their best to hide it. He offers to drive Felix to the train station and agrees to drop Ben along the way. On the way home, Mickey drives the car into a tree. When news of the accident reaches the Lemp home, Thea believes that Ben is the one who was injured and realizes that she loves him. The whole family races to the hospital, where they learn that Mickey is dying. He and Ann say their goodbyes. In the spring, Felix returns to the Lemps' to renew his proposal to Ann.

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

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