Musician Adam Lemp and his four equally musical daughters, Emma, Ann, Kay, and Thea, live happily together. Each daughter has an upstanding young man for whom she cares. However, the arrival of a cynical, slovenly young composer named Mickey Borden turns the household upside-down, and romantic and tragic complications ensue.
Famous largely as the film debut of John Garfield, who saunters into the picture like a being from another universe entirely - unstable, scary, and deeply appealing, he's basically an exile from film noir who finds himself stranded in an Andy Hardy world. The frame that contains him isn't half as fascinating, but as an MGM kind of picture made by Warner Bros and directed by Michael Curtiz, it's historically fascinating (there's an emotional reserve here that distinguishes it from the competition), and it's consistently handsome and efficient in precisely that manner that exemplifies the studio system's considerable virtues.
Four Daughters tells the story of a musical family and the romances of the four sisters, Ann (Priscilla Lane), Kay (Rosemary Lane), Thea (Lola Lane), and Emma (Gale Page). As they each begin to meet the loves of their lives, complications arise when Emma falls for Ann’s love, Felix (Jeffrey Lynn).
I would be lying if I didn’t admit I found this film a bit confusing. Admittedly, I have a very hard time differentiating people’s faces, so a movie about four sisters, starring real-life sisters, was already a bit intimidating to me. Luckily they were able to give each of these girls very different beaus and equally unique personalities. My biggest confusion came from the fact that the movie takes…
I’m surprised that this movie managed to snag an Oscar nomination back in ’38 because it’s really just a pretty workmanlike family comedy. If the film has a fatal flaw it’s that it’s too compressed, it needs to introduce all four of the titular daughters, their parents, and their various suitors and then tell the story all in 90 minutes. That’s an awful lot to fit in to such a small amount of time and you really don’t have the time to get to know or care about these people when you need to. Still, there was clearly some charm to be found here and it works more than it doesn’t.