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They Were Sisters (1945)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

1919. Three sisters - the headstrong Vera, the organised and elegant Lucy, and the naive Charlotte - prepare to go out to a tea-dance. Charlotte meets the smooth-talking Geoffrey, and marries him despite opposition from Lucy and Vera. After their wedding, at which Geoffrey is boorish and rude, Vera accepts a proposal from the wealthy but dull Brian, making it clear that she does not love him. Lucy, upset by the proceedings, is comforted by William, a tolerant and intelligent architect whom she subsequently marries.

At a reunion of the sisters several years later, it becomes apparent that neither Vera nor Charlotte are particularly concerned about their children, but that Lucy, who is childless, is exceptionally sensitive to their feelings. Vera suggests that Charlotte and her daughter Judith should stay on with Lucy for a few days. On their return home, Geoffrey is so jealous that Charlotte plans to leave him; he stops her by feigning a heart attack. Trapped, Charlotte begins drinking.

Bored with her marriage, Vera meanwhile falls in love with the dashing Terry. Charlotte's drinking and depression turn her into an invalid; shocked, Lucy takes Charlotte with her son Stephen and Judith on holiday. Finding that they have disobeyed him by also taking their dog, Geoffrey gives the animal away. When the dog finds its way home, Stephen takes it to William and Lucy's house.

Worried by Charlotte's mental state, Lucy arranges for a psychiatrist to visit her. Vera is charged with keeping Geoffrey out of the house but, preoccupied by Brian's promise of a divorce, fails to do so. Geoffrey orders the psychiatrist and Lucy out of the house. Once again trying to leave her husband, Charlotte runs into the street and is killed by a car.

Geoffrey asks Lucy to lie at the inquest, promising that she can take Judith and Stephen in return, but on the stand she denounces him as a murderer. Vera plans to move to South Africa with Terry. Overhearing them, her daughter Sarah realises that she is not wanted and runs away to Lucy and William. Judith, Stephen and their dog also join them, and the new 'family' plays happily on the lawn.

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