Review: The Sisters (1938)

Standard period melodrama with Bette Davis suffering for love (Errol Flynn) until the Frisco quake hits.

There’s nothing outstanding to recommend this romantic melodrama about three sisters discovering the compromising truth about love and marriage circa 1906. Eldest sister Louise (Davis) falls in love with Frank Medlin (Flynn), a struggling writer with limited prospects. She leaves her family in Montana for impoverished domestic bliss in San Francisco. She perseveres, he drinks. She despairs, he drinks. She takes a job, he decides she’s better off without him and hops the first freighter out of town. Then the earthquake comes, shaking out a predictable happy ending for all.

While the supporting cast is filled with terrific familiar faces (Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Donald Crisp and Alan Hale), Bette’s role could have been played by anyone. The part is uninteresting and a waste of her talents. A very by-the-numbers period romance. [** out of 5]

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