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Edward Everett Horton
The three Craig sisters, in Switzerland with their ten-years-divorced mother, run away to New York to prevent their father from marrying calculating socialite Donna Lyons. The overpowering vivacity of the Smart Girls (nominal ages 14-20) sweeps all before it, but a romantic complication between middle sister Kay and their accidental ally, Lord Michael Stuart, threatens shipwreck to their schemes... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This charming, funny movie combines Deanna Durbin's numerous talents with a far-fetched but enjoyable story, a set of interesting characters, and a cast and settings that make it all work. It combines the feel of the old screwball comedies with a little of the pace of a vintage musical, and a dash of commentary on family life. The combination works well, and is not as easy as it looks, as is so often demonstrated by the numerous gauche, hammy "family comedies" of more recent years.
Although she was quite young at the time, Durbin already had quite a singing voice, and she also had the kind of stage presence that allows her young character to take command of a scene in ways that would otherwise seem forced. She and the other two of the "Three Smart Girls" make a winning and energetic set of heroines. The rest of the cast members do well, too, and several of them have some very good moments. Charles Winninger makes the indecisive father very believable, Ray Milland's smooth, slightly exaggerated performance fits in nicely, Mischa Auer steals a number of scenes, and Binnie Barnes keeps her "other woman" character from being a stereotype.
Despite having a short career, Deanna Durbin left behind several very pleasant, enjoyable pictures that are worth the trouble to find for fans of classic cinema. This early feature is particularly charming.
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