Two Sisters from Boston (1946) - Comedy with June Allyson, Kathryn Grayson, Peter Lawford, Jimmy Durante

You have to watch this film! It is well-made, well played and well-aged.

Two Sisters from Boston (1946) is a period comedy at the start of the 20th century. Abigail Chandler (Kathryn Grayson) deceives her Beacon Hill relatives by telling them she sings in the opera in Manhattan when she actually sings in a cafe in the Bowery. Scandal! When her sister Martha (June Allyson) discovers the ruse, the two sisters work with Abigail's employer Spike (Jimmy Durante) to make the dream a reality before the rest of the family discover the truth.

Durante and Grayson in the Bowery
This is a funny film all about the skeletons in everyone's closet! Durante is in top form here. As part owner of a Bowery cafe managing to manipulate the upper crust into divulging their dirtiest secrets, his shenanigans are reminiscent of that of the Marx brothers.

Durante teaching dance steps

A great quote from Spike:"Ain't nothing dirty down here like there is in the opera! There are no murderings and wife-stealings and people killing themselves in our numbers like there is in the opera. We're clean down here!" I nearly bust a gut every time I hear him say that!

Peter Lawford shows up as June Allyson's romantic lead. (Natch.) He's absolutely hilarious as the bookish son of an opera house owner who mistakenly believes that Abigail is having an affair with his father! Of course, he must keep this a secret from the rest of his family and joins the quest for Abigail's career to keep her quiet.

Lawford and Allyson listening to Grayson sing
Lauritz Melchior is on hand to give us a performance or three. Melchior plays an opera star (Of course!) who is another roadblock to Abigail's career.

Ben Blue plays the uptight butler to Lawford's family who, on the side, frequents Spike's cafe when he's inebriated. If the butler can remember anything after his drunken stupor, he might bring the entire scandal out in the open.
The opera star's dog hears his master's voice on a recording!

With all the whizzing about, don't look past a lovely, if brief, scene with Durante and Grayson on the subject of friendship that really tugs at your heartstrings.

Allyson and Grayson share a moment

It has comedy, romance, period costumes, perfect pacing, songs and dances. Two Sisters from Boston is must-see entertainment!


  1. This looks terrific! What's not to love about a movie with Jimmy Durante?

  2. Hi Java:

    Did you notice that TWO SISTERS FROM BOSTON was produced by Joe Pasternak and Henry Koster? As you know, they were responsible for several of the early Deanna Durbin films at Universal.

    In fact, MGM was responsible for luring Pasternak away from Universal when he left the studio (reportedly) because he didn't agree on how Deanna's career should be handled now that she was in romantic roles.

    Personally, I don't think the musicals Pasternak made for MGM in the Durbin vein are generally as good as the ones he made with Deanna at Universal, but I like TWO SISTERS FROM BOSTON and think it's one of the better Metro attempts to capture the special qualities of the Durbin films.


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