Hard Way The (1943)
Joan Leslie stars as a woman with average (singing) talent that Jack Carson wants to make a star. Carson and partner Dennis Morgan are traveling vaudeville song & dance men with marginal talent themselves and Carson thinks he’s discovered just what their act needs – this “kid” with spunk. Ida Lupino playing Leslie’s sister uses Carson’s interest in (attraction to) her sister to help them escape their squalid steel town. Carson and Leslie marry but Lupino has become her sister’s number one promoter and the decision maker regarding “their” career. Morgan is driven away and later so is Carson whose character eventually commits suicide in the wake of his wife’s success and his own limited skills. Lupino’s ambition is really the focus of this film giving this underrated actress (who went on to a successful career as a director sometime writer & even a producer) a chance to exhibit her exceptional talent. This above average drama does have a second act: when the two sisters run across Morgan who’d become a successful band leader again and a love triangle ensues. Additionally an inevitable conflict arises between the sisters as the two debate who is responsible for Leslie’s success. Gladys George appears as an example to them: an actress on the downside of her own career. Directed by Vincent Sherman it features a screenplay co-written by Daniel Fuchs (Love Me or Leave Me (1955)).