Sunday, March 31, 2019
The Kid Sister (1945)
Joan Hollingsworth is a disappointed girl. Restricted by her stern mother, whose traditional nature makes her favour the eldest daughter in the family, Joan feels like an unwanted lump, so she tries having a bit of fun by pretending to be a maid, to gain access to one of her mother's parties. She quickly bumps into the attractive J. Waldo Barnes, and Becomes smitten. She doesn't have long to react though when she ends up accidentally on the run outside, and in the company of a burglar who mistakes her for a getaway driver...
The Kid Sister is a pretty simple affair, but an amusing one! Running at 53 minutes, it moves very briskly. Perhaps too briskly! It rarely feels rushed, but I do feel it could've been a bit longer, if only because I was enjoying myself so much. This is a pretty funny film, with a good story. Simple, and to the point, with just the right amount of misunderstandings, and a dash of romance.
Joan is a fun lead character to follow. She's a rebellious soul with a proactive streak, and her snark is appreciated. I particularly liked her role in the climax, where she saves the day single-handed, and is both badass with her words and actions!
The romance is handled well. The main couple has good chemistry, to the point where I didn't even notice the large age gap until it was pointed out to me.
Waldo is a fine love interest. Never unreasonable or unlikeable, even if he does get annoyed by the deceptions flying past his head all the time, as well as his loud maids and their brawling. Joan's old friend Tommy meanwhile is a bit of a wet blanket. His personality is a bit weird, actually. We see him at the beginning as an impressionable partner in Joan's mischievous antics, then suddenly he's a stern voice of reason. It's not that his behavioural shift doesn't make sense, but it feels a bit out-of-character when in literally the only other scene we saw him in before this point, they were as thick as thieves. I guess the solution would be to have had him appear a bit more, or cut the character out altogether, since we've already got a potential love interest/exasperated male in the form of Waldo.
Lastly, Joan's family doesn't really appear enough for my liking. We see them enough to totally understand Joan's predicament, but I still feel they could've had more screentime.
The short length of the film does detract in a couple of moments. It feels like there's a bit missing when Joan finally gets home, and the reaction of her mother is only related to us in her voiceover.
The dialogue in The Kid Sister is a real hoot! I won't reveal it all, but I'll give you a couple of samples...
Burglar: "You alright, lady?"-Joan: "I'll answer that as soon as I pull my feet out of the floorboard" "Well I gotta hand it to myself, huh". "I'd like to pick one right up from the ground and hand it to ya." "What are you crabbin' about?" "Didn't you get me into this weird mess of grief?" "Didn't I get you out of it?" "I don't know, the final returns aren't in yet.".
Waldo: "Don't forget now, you were going to have a talk with Martha."-Mrs. Wiggins: "Oh, I won't forget. When I get through telling what I got to tell her, she won't forget it in a hurry, I tell you that"
The acting here is all good. Everyone delivers fine performances, especially leading lady Judy Clark. She's simply adorable as Joan, and you really both the admiration and exasperation/frustration that poor Waldo feels with her. Frank Jenks is quite good as the villain too, getting across both a harmless humourous side in the funnier scenes, but also more of an intimidating edge in the later scenes. Not too extreme of course since this is still a comedy, but it was pretty impressive to me.
As expected with PRC films, this works within its means, and thus doesn't look low-budget at all! I don't get at all why these kinds of pictures were called 'Poverty Row'!
The Kid Sister feels like it could've been longer by all means, and I think would've made a fun little movie or tv series! A shame it never went beyond one 53 minute movie, but oh well. At least what we got was a funny time to be had. Definitely a good example of how charming and innocent older comedies could be...