FOUR DAUGHTERS (1938) B/W 91m dir: Michael Curtiz
w/Claude Rains, May Robson, Priscilla Lane, Lola Lane, Rosemary Lane, Gale Page, John Garfield, Dick Foran, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh
Solid adaptation of Fanny Hurst's novel Sister Act about four young women who live in a small town with their father and the men in their lives.
From Variety 's review of the film: "Michael Curtiz's direction is both affectionate and knowing. Claude Rains is irresistibly persuasive and attractive as the father. Priscilla Lane has the best part as the youngest sister. May Robson plays the aunt in proper mother-hen fashion. As the ill-starred newcomer, Garfield plays with such tight-lipped force that for a time he threatens to throw the picture out of focus by drawing too much interest."
From The Movie Guide: "An engrossing film which both endorses and questions a vision of small-town American romance. ...
"A fun tearjerker, this film is saved from its own candybox prettiness by the scorching presence of Garfield in the seemingly tailor-made role that brought him stardom. His Mickey Borden is a rebellious, surly, disillusioned young man from the big city, where poverty has scarred his otherwise brilliant mind. His rare smiles are wry grins, and his laughter is ironic. His character at once shouts defiance and defeat. His remarks to the kindly small-town folk who take him in reflect both their naivite and his jaded worldliness.
"Further help is offered by director Curtiz, whose sense of pace and proportion never gives this cottage cheese a chance to curdle. Although the Lane sisters and Page are simply too cute for words, they, Rains, and Robson do evoke something idealistically cozy when you let your guard down. Several sequels followed, including the superior DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS, as well as a mediocre remake, YOUNG AT HEART."
FOUR DAUGHTERS was nominated for five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Garfield), Screenplay (Lenore Coffee, Julius J. Epstein), and Sound (Nathan Levinson).