Release Date(s)1955 (June 19, 2018)
Studio(s)Columbia Pictures (Twilight Time)
- Film/Program Grade: A
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: D+
Not all remakes of films are inferior to the originals. Many of them are just as good, if not superior to the original, at least during the classic era (which is considered to be films prior to 1960). Take My Sister Eileen from 1955, which is a remake of the 1942 film of the same name. Both are comedic adaptations of a 1940 play, but the latter version is more of a musical with catchy numbers and dance sequences, arguably making it a more entertaining experience.
It’s a story about two sisters, Ruth and Eileen Sherwood (Betty Garrett and Janet Leigh respectively), who leave Ohio for New York City to pursue their careers and become rich and famous. Ruth has dreams of being a writer, while Eileen aspires to be an actress. They get their fair share of rejection at first, but eventually, they become involved with people who want to help them. Ruth is introduced to editor-in-chief Bob Baker (the great Jack Lemmon), writing fictitious romance stories about herself and her glamorous life. Meanwhile, Eileen meets Frank Lippencott (Bob Fosse, who also handles the choreography for this film), also offering to help her with her career.
My Sister Eileen is basically the exact same story as the earlier adaptation, but was also based on the successful 1953 Broadway musical “Wonderful Town” (with a few changes due to legalities). Quaintly directed by Richard Quine and shot beautifully in Cinemascope by Charles Lawton, Jr., it’s a very charming film with lots of witty, funny dialogue to go with the musical numbers. Everything from the acting to the choreography just flows perfectly from start to finish. The supporting cast is also fantastic, which includes Dick York (Bewitched) as neighbor Ted Loomis and Kurt Kasznar (Legend of the Lost) as Papa Appopolous.
After many requests, Twilight Time has finally answered the call and brought My Sister Eileen to Blu-ray courtesy of an HD master provided by Sony in its original 2.55:1 aspect ratio. As with many if not all of Sony’s HD masters, the image quality is just stunning. Due to the higher resolution, the colors are exceptionally vivid, especially with the different outfits that the two sisters wear throughout the movie. The pink, yellow, and dark blue colors that they wear are just radiant. Even the grey sweat suit that Dick York wears looks quite sharp and detailed. The outdoor scenery is also as bright and cheerful as the film itself. Film grain is present throughout, and there isn’t any print or element damage to be seen. The night scenes are also excellent; blacks look balanced and do not dominate to the point where you cannot see the characters clearly.
For this release, there are two audio options to choose from, which are English 2.0 or 5.1 DTS-HD. The dialogue is clear on either track, with the 2.0 audio sounding much louder. The musical numbers and sound effects, such as cars going by and the occasional “boom” that occurs within the sisters’ apartment, tends to come through louder than the dialogue. There are also optional and very easy to read English subtitles, which are large and in all capital letters.
The extras, as with the majority (but not all) of Twilight Time’s releases, are minimal. Included is an English 2.0 DTS-HD isolated score track, which is flawless with the music coming in loud and clear. Also included is the original theatrical trailer, a scroll-through of the current Twilight Time catalogue, and an 8-page insert booklet written by Julie Kirgo, who always does a wonderful job essaying the film as only she can.
My Sister Eileen to me is a comfortable, feel good, lazy, Sunday matinee movie. The acting, music, and dancing are top notch, making it a big winner. And on top of that, it has been given a spectacular Blu-ray release. The lack of extras should not be a deterrent when the A/V quality is this good. Highly recommended!
- David Steigman