Mad About Music (1938) - News Poster

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To Date, Academy Has Had Only 3 Female Presidents; Today, Stronger Female Presence in Board of Governors

Women presidents at the Academy: Cheryl Boone Isaacs is only the third one (photo: Angelina Jolie, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Brad Pitt) (See previous post: "Honorary Award Non-Winners: Too Late for Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich.") Wrapping up this four-part "Honorary Oscars Bypass Women" article, let it be noted that in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 85-year history there have been only two women presidents: two-time Oscar-winning actress Bette Davis (for two months in 1941, before the Dangerous and Jezebel star was forced to resign) and screenwriter Fay Kanin (1979-1983), whose best-known screen credit is the 1958 Doris Day-Clark Gable comedy Teacher's Pet. Additionally, following some top-level restructuring in April 2011, the Academy created the positions of Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, with the CEO post currently held by a woman, former Film Independent executive director and sometime actress Dawn Hudson. The COO post is held
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Slim Durbin and Marvelous Rendition of 'Last Rose of Summer'

Deanna Durbin: Ephemeral fame (photo: Deanna Durbin in 1981) [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin: 'Sweet Monster.'"] Unlike Greta Garbo, whose mystique remained basically intact following her retirement in 1941, Deanna Durbin’s popularity faded away much like that of the vast majority of celebrities who were removed — or who chose to remove themselves — from public view. Despite the advent of home video and classic-movie cable channels, Durbin remains virtually unknown to the vast majority of those who weren’t around in her heyday in the ’30s and ’40s. Yet, although relatively few in number, she continues to have her ardent fans. There are a handful of websites devoted to Deanna Durbin and her film and recording careers, chiefly among them the appropriately titled "Deanna Durbin Devotees." Fade Out Charles David, Deanna Durbin’s husband of 48 years, died in March 1999, at the age of 92; Institut Pasteur medical researcher Peter H. David is their only son. Durbin also had a daughter,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Fan Mob Madness: Durbin Pt.6

Deanna Durbin: Three Husbands with Universal Pictures background [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin: Highest Paid Actress in the World."] By the time the 26-year-old Deanna Durbin’s film career was over, the movies’ personification of girl-next-door wholesomeness had been married twice: Durbin’s union with Universal Pictures assistant director Vaughn Paul ended in 1943. Two years later, she married another Universal employee, 43-year-old German-born writer-producer Felix Jackson, among whose screenwriting and/or producing credits were the James Stewart / Marlene Dietrich Western hit Destry Rides Again (1939), the well-regarded Ginger Rogers / David Niven comedy Bachelor Mother (1939), and several Deanna Durbin star vehicles, including Mad About Music, Hers to Hold, and Lady on a Train. Jackson, in fact, produced nearly all of her post-Joe Pasternak films of the mid-’40s, the one exception being The Amazing Mrs. Holliday. The last Jackson-Durbin collaboration was the 1947 critical and box-office misfire I’ll Be Yours, which came out as their marriage was crumbling. Deanna Durbin would
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Adrift at Universal Pictures in the '40s: Durbin Pt.3

‘The Deanna Durbin Unit’ (photo: Robert Cummings, Deanna Durbin, and Charles Laughton in It Started with Eve) [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin Movies Save Universal."] Deanna Durbin and Henry Koster, who has been credited with helping to mold Durbin’s screen persona, collaborated on five movies. Besides Three Smart Girls, there was the inevitable sequel, Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939), in addition to One Hundred Men and a Girl, after which Durbin’s salary was reportedly doubled to $3,000 per week, plus a $10,000 bonus per film; the Cinderella-like First Love (1939), in which, following worldwide publicity, Durbin gets kissed on screen for the first time (Robert Stack was the kisser); Spring Parade (1940), with a Viennese setting and Robert Cummings as her leading man; and It Started with Eve (1941), a light, well-received romantic comedy co-starring Cummings and Charles Laughton. (Universal would also release the 1964 remake, I’d Rather Be Rich, starring Sandra Dee in the Robert Cummings role, Robert Goulet in the Deanna Durbin part,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Universal Studios Rescued by Teen Star's 'Miracle Movies'

Deanna Durbin ‘saves’ Universal (photo: Deanna Durbin in Three Smart Girls) [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin: Remembering One of Hollywood's Top Stars."] During the Great Depression most Hollywood studios were in dire financial straits, until, as the story goes, one (or more) lucky star(s) made them once again solvent. Mae West is credited for "saving" Paramount; Shirley Temple "saved" Fox; the Busby Berkeley, Ruby Keeler, and Dick Powell combo "saved" Warner Bros.; and the curious mix of King Kong, Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rogers "saved" Rko. So, did Deanna Durbin truly save Universal from bankruptcy? Well, Charles Rogers’ investment company came to the financial rescue of Universal in 1936, but the success of Durbin’s movies surely helped the new management get the studio back on its feet. For instance, according to author David Shipman, Three Smart Girls cost $300,000 — its budget doubled after studio bosses realized they had a hit in their hands — and earned Universal a hefty $2m. (An unspecified
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Deanna Durbin Has Died

Deanna Durbin Has Died
Deanna Durbin, one of the shining lights of Hollywood during the ‘30s and ‘40s, has died. She was 91.Born in Winnipeg Canada — her parents were actually from Manchester — Durbin emerged as the dictionary definition of the girl next door, with a clear, light singing voice that belied her technical prowess (she had the vocal range of a soprano) and a sweet, cheerful, wholesome persona that could make apple pie look un-American.She debuted in Every Sunday with Judy Garland in 1936, then signed a contract for Universal and began a ran of films that was generally considered to have saved the studio from bankruptcy; Three Smart Girls (1936), One Hundred Men And A Girl (1937), Mad About Music (1938), Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939), First Love (1939) and It’s A Date (1940). Her astonishing talents and joie-de-vivre — she won an Academy Award for “embodying youth” in 1939 — did much to cheer up America in the early stages of the war.
See full article at EmpireOnline »

Remembering Deanna Durbin

The only people who don’t like Deanna Durbin, it seems to me, are people who’ve never seen her movies. Possessed of a glorious, bell-like soprano voice, she was presented to moviegoers of the 1930s in a series of irresistible comedies that showcased a fresh, sunny screen personality. Delightful films like Three Smart Girls, One Hundred Men and a Girl, and Mad About Music were said to have saved Universal Pictures from bankruptcy; I don’t know if that’s actually true, but they were enormously successful, and her fans have remained devoted to her for decades. In 1946 she was the second-highest paid woman in America, but a few years later she walked away from the spotlight, moved to...

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See full article at Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy »

Deanna Durbin obituary

Child star with a powerful singing voice who played the perfect girl next door in Hollywood films of the 30s and 40s

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
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Singer-Actress Deanna Durbin Dead at 91

Singer-Actress Deanna Durbin Dead at 91
Singer-actress Deanna Durbin, who was the highest-paid female star in Hollywood in 1947 but permanently exited the movie biz the next year at the age of 26, has died, her fan club announced Tuesday. The announcement did not give a date or cause of death. She was 91.

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.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

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