Sister Kenny (1946)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature]  |   Release Date - Sep 29, 1946 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 116 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Covering over four decades, Sister Kenny gave Rosalind Russell the kind of showy dramatic part that she relished, and she ran with it. Ageing very believably (and agreeably), Russell is the solid anchor that holds the film together. She believably displays the strength of character required of her, but varies her performance so that it doesn't fall into the deadly dull pit that encircles many virtuous characters in films of the period. Her fiery spirit is put to good use, memorably in the setpiece scene in which she confronts Dr. Brack in an operating observation room filled with students. If some of Russell's performance is clearly acting, that's less due to the actress than to the screenplay; portions of the script call for good old fashioned drama, and Russell delivers. Interestingly, the screenplay also has a (for the time) feminist bent to it, which adds an unusual flavor. The narrative also stumbles occasionally, and directors Lumsden Hare and Dudley Nichols allow the pacing to drag occasionally; they're a bit too reverent to the subject for the film's own good. But overall, Sister Kenny is an involving and inspirational film, and an excellent showcase for the gifted Russell.