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The Hard Way
Directed by Vincent Sherman • 1943 • United States
Starring Ida Lupino, Dennis Morgan, Joan Leslie
When Bette Davis turned down the lead role in this juicy, dark-hearted backstage melodrama (a decision she later regretted), it paved the way for Ida Lupino to take on one of her finest dramatic showcases. She is at her hard-edged best as the fiercely ambitious stage “mother” who will do almost anything—and betray almost anyone—to turn her talented sister (Joan Leslie) into a Broadway star and pull them both out of a life of small-town drudgery.