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Take My Advice: The Ann and Abby Story
Take My Advice The Ann and Abby Story
Actors: Robert Desiderio, Kenneth David Gilman, David Groh, Joanna Johnson, Wendie Malick
Director: Alan Metzger
Genres: Drama, Television
UR     2006     1hr 31min

Based on a true story as seen on the Lifetime network. This is the remarkable true story of how 2 sisters - identical twins - came to be the most widely read columnists in newspaper history. The vivacious sisters were inse...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Robert Desiderio, Kenneth David Gilman, David Groh, Joanna Johnson, Wendie Malick
Director: Alan Metzger
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Comedy
Studio: Allumination
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 11/16/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The Story of Twin Sisters
Acute Observer | Jersey Shore USA | 06/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film is about the famous columnists Esther Friedman ("Ann Landers") and Pauline Friedman ("Dear Abby") who were twin sisters and showed their talents by giving advice in their college newspapers in the 1930s. [Few went to college in those days.] They were both married in a double wedding. Eppie's husband Jules Lederer sold pots and pans at house parties; then he was drafted into the Army. Then Pauline's husband Morton Philips too. The scenes recreate 1940s America in a low-key way. You will see a lot of classic cars, clothing styles, and telephones from that era. But trains are missing! Eppie is involved with Democratic party politics in 1953 Wisconsin. Her husband Jules decides to start a new career in Chicago, a car rental business. Eppie visits city hall to look for a job, but winds up trying out for the "Ann Landers" advice column (the previous columnist used this pen name).

This film tells how the column is produced. Signed letters are answered. Eppie brings her work home; he husband advises her to get help with the work load. So she calls Popo for help. "Ann Landers" wrote snappy zingers to reply to serious questions; entertainment not advice. But would a serious person write a stranger for advice? Popo's experience leads her to follow the same career. She asks for a job with the San Francisco 'Chronicle', and "Abigail Van Buren" begins her rival career. Both represent the new cultural changes of the 1950s, the post-Depression times with new wealth and freedoms for most people. They reinvented the advice column as entertainment.

The use of 35 mm SLR cameras in the 1950s by newspapermen is an anachronism. Even TLR cameras were unlikely. The rivalry between them is shown; it wasn't just a publicity stunt. Note the modern electric typewriter by 1967. "Ann Landers" visited Vietnam to cheer up the troops. Both sisters received an award from Pope Paul VI for their stand against divorce. A very busy Eppie winds up the last to know about her husband's new hobby in London (?). "It just happened" he said (but this was telegraphed earlier). They attend their 40th high school reunion and reconcile for the film's ending. The story was based on real people but some events were fictionalized. The popularity of advice columns may reflect the increased 'nuclear families' and the breakdown of established connections of family, friends, and neighbors. Its efforts were to get people involved in personal matters rather than the political-economic events that affect us.

"Ann Landers" must have gotten old or lazy, and delegated the work to her gaggle of assistants in her last years. Some found the best way to meet her standards was to recycle old columns. But these echoes were noticed and the newspapers had another scandal about an Establishment figure. We already knew about "Cardinal Ryan" of Chicago. Eppie's seeking advice from VIPs made her a cog in the propaganda machine. The film mentions her attack on guns but doesn't explain what brought that on. Eppie's trips to England may be explained by their currency controls. The money she earned there could not be sent out of the country so she had to visit there to spend it. I wonder if other parts of her life were prettied up for this story? There seems to be a first in using one person to play both sisters through technical magic.