Thursday, 2 May 2013


In 1940's Hollywood she was the epitome of the girl-next-door: a sweet, innocent, wholesome youngster who just happened to be able to warble operatic arias with the perfection of a seasoned soprano at the Met.

Deanna Durbin, who has just died aged 91, made a slew of sentimental movies in which she demonstrated her unique voice to the enraptured enjoyment of a raft of indulgently admiring character actors.

Here she is, alongside the great Leopold Stokowski, in their 1937 hit, 100 Men and a Girl, demonstrating how easy it is audition for an internationally famous conductor...

...and here she is singing Schubert's 'Ave Maria' for an audience (including Kay Francis and Walter Pidgeon) at the conclusion of Joe Pasternak's It's a Date...

It's a Date premiered in March 1940. How interesting that, eight months later, Walt Disney concluded his Fantasia with the same musical item and similar imagery of church windows, arches and processing choristers...

Anyway, from her debut co-starring with Judy Garland in Every Sunday (1936) to her last film, For the Love of Mary, in 1948, she won the hearts of a decade of picture-goers. Corny and implausible though many of her movies were, Deanna Durbin was a unique star in that once-glittering firmament that illuminated Hollywood's golden age.



Eudora said...

Oh, rest in peace.
I love the movies she made with Charles Laughton.

John Vernon Lord said...

Hi Brian
My wife Denie (real name 'Deanna') was called after Deanna Durbin. I can remember a stack of shellac 78s (of Deanna Durbin singing) in my mother's record collection too, when I was kid.
Thanks for these clips.

Anonymous said...

What a voice! Never a hint of Scandal!