Edna's grandfather is a conductor of a small orchestra that gives concerts in the park every sunday. Because of lack of audience the city officials want to cancel these concerts. To stop ... See full summary »
Edna's grandfather is a conductor of a small orchestra that gives concerts in the park every sunday. Because of lack of audience the city officials want to cancel these concerts. To stop this from happening, Judy and Deanna gather a crowd the following sunday, and to keep its attention, they themselves perform alongside the orchestra. Deanna sings an aria and Judy sings 'Americana'. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
This film was not (as is often reported) a "screen test" of sorts produced by MGM to help the studio decide which of the two girls, Deanna Durbin or Judy Garland, to keep under contract. Durbin was released by MGM and signed by Universal prior to this movie's production. A 1 June 1936 blurb in "The Hollywood Reporter" states that "Universal has changed Edna Mae Durbin's name to 'Dianna' [sic]." This movie, it appears, was not produced until at least July 1936, by which time Durbin had already been signed by Universal and cast in her debut vehicle, Three Smart Girls. The reason she appears in this film is that there was reportedly a provision in her MGM contract that entitled the studio to request her services for up to 60 days following its termination, provided she wasn't already shooting a film at her new studio. As filming on "Three Smart Girls" wasn't scheduled to begin until September 1936, Durbin found herself back at MGM making this short with Garland. This is why, although her on-screen character is called "Edna" in the short (Deanna's real name), in the credits she is billed under the name by which she would soon become internationally famous, "Deanna". See more »
Deanna and Judy Debut in This Delightful Short Subject
Although little more than a pleasant 11-minute musical diversion (it's rightly billed as a "Tabloid Musical") EVERY Sunday is one of the most famous and precious documents in cinematic history, since it provides an invaluable look at the burgeoning talents of two of the screen's most talented and beloved musical performers: Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland.
Although often cited as an screen test of sorts, produced by MGM to test the adolescent appeal of studio contractees Durbin and Garland whose options were reportedly coming up for renewal, this assertion is not entirely accurate. By the time EVERY Sunday was produced in July, 1936, Deanna Durbin's contract with MGM had already lapsed and she had been immediately signed by Universal a month earlier, in June 1936.
However, a provision in Durbin's MGM contract permitted the studio to exercise an option on her services for up to sixty days, providing she had not yet begun work on a picture at her new studio. As Durbin's debut vehicle, THREE SMART GIRLS, was still not ready to begin filming, MGM chose to exercise its' option and, although officially under contract to Universal at the time, Durbin found herself back on the MGM lot filming this agreeable short subject with fellow adolescent singing hopeful, Judy Garland.
This, along with Garland's far more extensive prior professional performing experience/training (which included appearances in several earlier movie shorts), may explain why EVERY Sunday often seems to favor Judy Garland over Deanna Durbin, giving Garland more lines to speak and an original song ("Americana") to sing, while Durbin offers the popular classical art song, "Il Bacio" by Luigi Ardiiti. Certainly, it would make perfect sense that MGM would want to favor one of its' own contract players over another from a rival studio.
Ironically, although Garland's character is the more overtly pro-active one of the two girls in this short, it would be Durbin's feisty and impulsive "Little Miss Fixit" screen persona at Universal which would propel her to instantaneous worldwide super stardom as the world's first "Teen Idol" with her debut vehicle, THREE SMART GIRLS, while Garland's more passive "wistful wallflower" adolescent image would see her generally cast in supporting roles opposite frequent screen partner Mickey Rooney and (in ZIEGFELD GIRL) the up-and-coming Lana Turner. Not until her fifteenth MGM feature, 1942' FOR ME AND MY GAL (which was also her first fully "adult" role) would Garland achieve the solo above-the title billing and "solo attraction" status of a true superstar that Durbin had attained instantaneously six years earlier.
It is entirely inaccurate, therefore, to assert that Garland was the only "superstar" attraction of the two girls, as Durbin attained this status with press 'n public, almost a decade before her MGM rival. Literally in foreclosure at the time of her signing, the on screen evidence strongly suggests that Universal was much quicker to realize Deanna's full superstar potential than MGM was with Judy, and it's worth noting that almost every notable accomplishment Garland achieved at MGM, from superstar billing, to having starring vehicles specially written to showcase her talents and appeal, to being invited to plant her footprints in the forecourt of Graumann's Chinese Theater, to receiving an "Honorary" Oscar" in recognition for her talent, Deanna Durbin received well before her gifted MGM contemporary.
In any case, EVERY Sunday is a delightful, utterly unpretentious musical short. Its plot line (Durbin and Garland use their singing talents to save Durbin's grandfather from being forcibly retired by the town council from conducting his Sunday concerts in the park), presages the plot lines of both Garland's "Let's Put On a Show" musicals with Mickey Rooney and Durbin's 100 MEN AND A GIRL. Unlike Garland's later BABES films, the short never treats the insubstantial storyline seriously, and consequently, its' eleven minute running time flies by.
Of course, the true magic of EVERY Sunday is in observing the already remarkable performing talents/screen presences of Durbin and Garland at the very beginning of their legendary careers. Both girls, even at this early stage, possessed remarkable screen presences and are utterly natural and unaffected in their presentation as both singers and actresses. Garland fairly explodes off the screen with vitality as she literally punches out the lyrics to the jaunty "Americana." As she socks across the number with appropriate hand gestures, acting it as well as singing it, as she interacts with members of the park "orchestra."
By contrast, Durbin's presentation of "Il Bacio," is far more demure and subdued. Although entirely appropriate for her "classical" selection, Durbin's delivery of Arditi's waltz is much more of the traditional "stand 'n sing" variety than Garland's physically emotive turn. Nevertheless, though "miniature diva" Deanna does nothing to call attention to herself, with her candid eyes, dazzling smile and artless delivery, she easily holds the screen with "jazz baby" Judy, and their delightful duetting of "Americana" in the short's finale makes one regret all the more that producer Joe Pasternak was never able to realize his dream of pairing Durbin and Garland in a musical feature film (because Universal refused to loan "Number One Asset" Durbin out).
A priceless document of the nascent talents of two remarkable and utterly unique talents. See this one if you get a chance!
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