Mad About Music (1938)
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When a teenage Deanna Durbin appeared on screen in the 1930s, wearing a decorous white dress with her hands clasped together, singing with a bell-like purity, audiences sighed contentedly. And so did film and music executives. In the days when child stars were wholesome, Durbin was everyone's idea of the perfect girl next door, and she was a huge money-spinner. Audiences flocked to see her musical comedies and, after she had trilled numbers such as It's Raining Sunbeams (in the film One Hundred Men and a Girl, 1937), Home Sweet Home (in First Love, 1939) and Waltzing in the Clouds (in Spring Parade, 1940), her fans queued to buy the latest record bearing her name.
Durbin, who has died aged 91, was the antithesis of the Hollywood glamour girl – which made her
Durbin initially landed at MGM after a successful audition for a part in a planned biopic of opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink. She actually made her film debut in the 1936 MGM short “Every Sunday,” with Judy Garland (the two were only six months apart in age), and the opera film was never made. Soon thereafter Universal signed Durbin to a contract.
Her first film at U was “Three Smart Girls” (remade decades later as “The Parent Trap”). That big box office hit, in which she played the perfect teenage daughter, paved the way for many more of the same, and Durbin was credited with saving the studio from bankruptcy.
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