Wish You Had a Sister? How about Three Bad Sisters?
Three Bad Sisters(1956), a new manufactured-on-demand release from the MGM Limited Edition Collection, may cause one to question one’s sanity. Twenty-four hours after watching it, I feel like I need a psychiatrist. Mostly, Three Bad Sisters is awful. The acting, the sets, the script, the screenplay…all terrible…nice wardrobe, though. When it’s over, one thinks “there’s not a good thing to be said for this movie.” However, here I sit a day later, and I feel like watching it again. It’s that bad! Or maybe I just need therapy.
A millionaire has three adult daughters and a twin sister. They all wear mink. It may be warm enough to swim, but they’re dripping in fur (or dripping because of it). Dad dies in an airplane crash which he may have caused, because he may have been suicidal, and leaves his money to his three kids. They might be suicidal, too. Or at least certifiable.
One of the daughters, loony Valerie (Kathleen Hughes), hires—of all people—the pilot, Jim Norton (John Bromfield) who was flying the plane that crashed, to help scam her sisters out of their share of the inheritance, because “nothing is as important as money.” He’s supposed to make sister Lorna (Sara Shane) fall in love with him (she’s the sister that’s not oversexed). Valerie has her own plans for sister Vicki (Marla English. Stop me when I get to a name you recognize.) Vicki likes her men the way I like my toasted marshmallows—hot and plentiful.
Aunt Martha (Madge Kennedy), the dead man’s twin, is suspicious of the pilot and blames him for her brother’s death. For some strange reason (maybe because she’s nuts) she refuses to believe that insanity runs in her family. Listening to the sisters’ speech affectations would drive anyone crazy, which may be what happened to old Auntie.
I would like to wrap this up without ruining any surprises, but there are none. All the plot twists that the audience will imagine would makeThree Bad Sistersa better movie don’t happen. Unfortunately, nobody in charge of making the film imagined any of them. Did Dad kill himself? Maybe…it would’ve been an attractive alternative to thesibling rivalryand the sisters’ totalself-absorption. Mercifully brief,Three Bad Sisterscloses without tying up all the loose ends (for example, Valerie), but we don’t actually care.
The actors are in a dead heat with the writers to see who is less talented, and the actors pull it off by a nose. Three Bad Sisters is a strange brew of speeding cars, bitchy women, greed, swimming suits, furs, violence, cliffs, and bad manners, yet (PLOT SPOILER) it ends happily. Oddly, viewers may find themselves wanting a second helping.