A few words about…™ My Sister Eileen — in Blu-ray

Derived from a master, typical of the quality coming from Columbia, It's a magnificent Blu-ray. 4 Stars

Richard Quine, a Columbia staple during this period, directed My Sister Eileen, based upon the stage play, in 1955.

The color production, filmed in CinemaScope by Charles Lawton, Jr. (The Lady from Shanghai), has made its way to Twilight Time, and the wait has been worthwhile.

Derived from a master, typical of the quality coming from Columbia, It’s a magnificent Blu-ray.

2.55 aspect ratio.

4-track stereo.

It all works

And free with every purchase, along with the isolated music (and occasional dx & fx), is another collectible monograph by one of the best in the business, Julie Kirgo.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Absolutely

Highly Recommended

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

21 Comments

  1. This is a thoroughly delightful musical version of the book and play! I fell in love with it while watching it on TV in black & white with a family of cousins I had never met before. I was only 8 or 9 and the Conga! number had me rolling on the floor. Years later I researched it to find out Leonard Maltin's rating, rented it on 16mm for an old fashioned movie party. Ruth McKenney was a fine writer from the mid-west. As light and frivolous this story is the real lives behind it are sadly tragic. This material has been successful in each adaptation. Although this movie has less esteem than the Bernstein musical these performances absolutely glow! A great comedic cast–Leigh, Garrett, Lemmon in peak form. Two legendary dancers–Bob Fosse, Tommy Rall. Early Fosse choreography–simple, sweet and powerful.

  2. Just got through watching the blu, and thoroughly enjoyed it. You get to see some early Bob (billed as "Robert") Fosse choreography along with a pretty good score by Jule Styne and Leo Robin, who earlier did "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" on Broadway. (Styne later did the music for "Bells Are Ringing," "Gypsy" and "Funny Girl.") While Fosse and Tommy Rall were no surprise in the dance numbers (they did, after all, come up through the MGM musical factory), and Betty Garrett was a Broadway veteran, Janet Leigh was a big surprise. She acquitted herself quite well. The highlights for me are the challenge dance between Fosse and Rall, "There's Nothin' Like Love" done first by Garrett and Leigh and then in a reprise by Fosse and Leigh, and especially all four of them in "Give Me a Band and My Baby."

    It's no "Singin' in the Rain," but it is 108 minutes well spent.

  3. What a shame that Columbia did not spring for the rights to the outstanding Broadway score by Bernstein and were forced to use alternate material. I know that Jule Styne of course wrote many other wonderful scores, but as a lover of the Broadway musical, I remember being bewildered by this substitution. This is probably why this movie is so obscure now.

  4. The musical play was produced in 1953 and the movie was released in 1955. That’s a short span to be able to grab film rights. However I love and have seen Wonderful Town-The Musical several times and feel it is surperior.

  5. At least they did Wonderful Town as a TV spectacular and we have a kinescope of that production (how about a disc release somebody?). At the time, a lot more people saw that TV version than would have ever seen a movie of it. Still, a movie of it would have been a wonderful keepsake of a special show.

  6. TJPC

    What a shame that Columbia did not spring for the rights to the outstanding Broadway score by Bernstein and were forced to use alternate material. I know that Jule Styne of course wrote many other wonderful scores, but as a lover of the Broadway musical, I remember being bewildered by this substitution. This is probably why this movie is so obscure now.

    Columbia already owned the rights to the story, but didn't want to spring for the rights to the score of Wonderful Town. It was purely a budget decision.

  7. I was the producer of the two disc laserdisc version of My Sister Eileen.
    This movie was filmed with lawyers on the set.
    Becaus4e Columbia owned the rights to the original show, they assumed they would do the broadway version.
    I talked to both Betty Garrett and Jack Lemmon about this.
    They told me they recored all of the broadway songs, ready to film.
    Bernstein and gang got wind of it and restrained it from happening.
    Back in the early nineties the soundtrack sessions were still in the vault.
    When I asked if I could put these tracks on the backup channel,s I was firmly told No Way !!!!
    I also released Jack Lemmons musical Three for the Show.
    I tried to do You Cant Run Away from it, but was told there was music rights problems with it.

  8. TJPC

    What a shame that Columbia did not spring for the rights to the outstanding Broadway score by Bernstein and were forced to use alternate material. I know that Jule Styne of course wrote many other wonderful scores, but as a lover of the Broadway musical, I remember being bewildered by this substitution. This is probably why this movie is so obscure now.

    "What a Waste" one might say… 🙂

  9. Joe Caps

    I was the producer of the two disc laserdisc version of My Sister Eileen.
    This movie was filmed with lawyers on the set.
    Becaus4e Columbia owned the rights to the original show, they assumed they would do the broadway version.
    I talked to both Betty Garrett and Jack Lemmon about this.
    They told me they recored all of the broadway songs, ready to film.
    Bernstein and gang got wind of it and restrained it from happening.
    Back in the early nineties the soundtrack sessions were still in the vault.
    When I asked if I could put these tracks on the backup channel,s I was firmly told No Way !!!!
    I also released Jack Lemmons musical Three for the Show.
    I tried to do You Cant Run Away from it, but was told there was music rights problems with it.

    Am I really reading this? Perhaps their memories were gone, but in order to record Mr. Bernstein and Comden and Green's songs, they would have had to secure the RIGHTS to do so long before it was recorded. You think Columbia and the man who run it would just go ahead and do something completely illegal. This is Fantasyland here.

  10. I haven't watched this Twilight Time release yet (I have seen this movie, but it was long, long ago), but this afternoon I did watch the 1942 non-musical film version of the play with Rosalind Russell and Janet Blair, and the TCM broadcast used an HD master that looked splendid, another great Sony transfer. Great cast and as frenetic as I remembered it. Makes me want to see Roz in Wonderful Town all over again. I guess I can listen to my Broadway and television cast recordings as some recompense, but I'd like to have the whole megillah.

  11. TJPC

    Wasn’t the kinescope of the TV production of the musical ever available?

    I don't think it was ever commercially available. I have watched it twice at the Museum of Radio and Television in NYC. I can only find clips of various numbers on YouTube, not the whole thing.

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