I’ve been fond of June Allyson’s acting ever since I saw her play Jo in “Little Women”(1949). That movie was made by MGM, and Allyson made many other movies at that time for that famous studio. “Two Sisters from Boston” (released in 1946) is not exactly a musical—in the way, say “Singin’ in the Rain” is—but music certainly plays a big role in the film. What makes it interesting is that it’s about two musical worlds in New York City circa 1900—that of the vaudeville theater and that of opera.
Kathryn Grayson, who was also an MGM player at that time, plays a young lady from a very proper Boston family who moves to New York and ends up singing in the less than glamorous world of vaudeville (her stage name is “High ‘C’ Susie”), while hoping to make it in the world of opera. The venue where she works is presided over by the always animated Jimmy Durante, who has taken Grayson under his wing. When Alyson arrives in New York with the family in tow, things become dicey as Grayson schemes her way into an appearance at the opera so her family doesn’t find out where she’s really working. Meanwhile, the opera director’s son, played by another MGM player, Peter Lawford, has eyes for Alyson.
Shot in black and white, I liked how this movie showed that in the “low” places like vaudeville, good people could be found, and that in the “high” venue of the opera the scheming and philandering were just as present as anywhere else. With egos all around, it’s up to the two sisters to find their way with some dignity intact. Great music, great sets, and a lively story add to why I found this a delightful film.
Posted by: David