Friday, February 18, 2011

More on My Sister Eileen

I did a brief one-paragraph post on the movie My Sister Eileen back in July 2008 when it aired as part of Rosalind Russell's turn as TCM's Star of the Month. It's airing again today at 3:15 PM ET on TCM, and most of what I said about the movie back then still stands. The movie is apparently available on DVD as part of a box set of Columbia comedies, although I'm not certain if i's in print still.

A few things about My Sister Eileen that I didn't mention back in 2008: First, it was remade in the mid-1950s as a musical. Eileen is played in the remake by then-new Columbia star Janet Leigh, while Ruth is played by Betty Garrett, whom I just mentioned yesterday in On the Town and who just passed away recently.

The characters are based on real life; specifically, a life that ended tragically for the title character. Eileen (actual last name McKenney) was the wife of novelist and sometime screenwriter Nathaniel West (writer of the original novel Miss Lonelyhearts), and when they learned of the death of fellow novelist/screenwriter F. Scott Fitzgerald, they rushed to Los Angeles for the funeral, dying in a car accident along the way. Eileen's death was also shortly before the original Broadway play on which the movie was based was to premiere.

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