7.2/10
426
12 user 3 critic

First Love (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical | 10 November 1939 (USA)
In this reworking of Cinderella, orphaned Connie Harding is sent to live with her rich aunt and uncle after graduating from boarding school. She's hardly received with open arms, especially... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Lionel Hauser)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man asks a hat check girl to pose as his fiancée in order to make his dying father's last moments happy. However, the old man's health takes a turn for the better and now his son ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Charles Laughton, Robert Cummings
Musical | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A senator's daughter (who can't help singing) follows her boyfriend West in the days of the California gold rush.

Director: Frank Ryan
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Robert Paige, Akim Tamiroff
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

While waiting at a train station, Nikki Collins witnesses a murder from a nearby building. When she brings the police to the scene of the crime, they think she's crazy since there's no body... See full summary »

Director: Charles David
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Ralph Bellamy, Edward Everett Horton
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The daughter of a struggling musician forms a symphony orchestra made up of his unemployed friends and through persistence, charm and a few misunderstandings, is able to get Leopold ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Adolphe Menjou, Alice Brady
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A grandson of a recently deceased millionaire mistakes a beautiful female disc jockey for her aunt, who once dated the grandfather.

Director: Irving Pichel
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Donald O'Connor, John Dall
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Three sisters scheme to reunite their divorced parents before their wealthy father marries a conniving gold digger.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Binnie Barnes, Charles Winninger, Alice Brady
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Now that their parents are back together, the Craig girls think life is going to be easy. It is, until Kay falls in love with Joan's fiance! Complications arise when youngest sister Penny ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Charles Winninger, Nan Grey
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young woman at a girl's school in Switzerland makes up stories about and writes herself letters from an imaginary explorer-adventurer father; and is eventually put in a position where she... See full summary »

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Herbert Marshall, Gail Patrick
Nice Girl? (1941)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young girl finds herself attracted to one of her father's business partners.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Franchot Tone, Walter Brennan
Spring Parade (1940)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In this light and lovely romantic musical, a Hungarian woman(Deanna Durbin) attends a Viennese fair and buys a card from a gypsy fortune teller. It says that she will meet someone important... See full summary »

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Robert Cummings, Mischa Auer
It's a Date (1940)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An aspiring actress is offered the lead in a major new play, but discovers that her mother, a more seasoned performer, expects the same part. The situation is further complicated when they both become involved with the same man.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Kay Francis, Walter Pidgeon
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Polly Parrish, a clerk at Merlin's Department Store, is mistakenly presumed to be the mother of a foundling. Outraged at Polly's unmotherly conduct, David Merlin becomes determined to keep ... See full summary »

Director: Garson Kanin
Stars: Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
James Clinton
Helen Parrish ...
Barbara Clinton
Lewis Howard ...
Walter Clinton
...
Grace Shute Clinton
June Storey ...
Wilma van Everett
Frank Jenks ...
Mike the Cop
Kathleen Howard ...
Miss Wiggins
Thurston Hall ...
Anthony Drake
Marcia Mae Jones ...
Marcia Parker
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Mr. Parker
Doris Lloyd ...
Mrs. Parker
Charles Coleman ...
George, Clinton's Butler
...
Terry
Edit

Storyline

In this reworking of Cinderella, orphaned Connie Harding is sent to live with her rich aunt and uncle after graduating from boarding school. She's hardly received with open arms, especially by her snobby cousin Barbara. When the entire family is invited to a major social ball, Barbara sees to it that Connie is forced to stay home. With the aid of her uncle, who acts as her fairy godfather, Connie makes it to the ball and meets her Prince Charming in Ted Drake, her cousin's boyfriend. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 November 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cinderella  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Deanna Durbin's character gives her birthdate as 4 December - Durbin's own. See more »

Goofs

The movement of Deanna during the scene with her mirror. See more »

Connections

Version of Ella Enchanted (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Spring in My Heart
Music by Johann Strauss
Music adapted by Hans J. Salter (as H. J. Salter)
Lyrics by Ralph Freed
Sung by Deanna Durbin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A sweet-natured re-telling of the Cinderella story, and a charming vehicle for 18-year-old Deanna Durbin
27 January 2008 | by (San Antonio, Texas) – See all my reviews

I'll take my Cinderella with Prokovief, but after watching First Love, a first-rate film with a quease-inducing title, I'll place this Deanna Durbin vehicle second.

"You go up there to New York," says Miss Wiggins, a crotchety, spinster music teacher, to Connie Harding, who has just graduated from a fancy private school. "Make those people love you just as much as we do." Connie is an orphan, and Miss Wiggins is referring to her uncle and his family, wealthy New Yorkers who have paid all her bills but were just too busy to drive down for her graduation. They sent one of the family's limousines for her. "And then," Miss Wiggins says, "maybe, someday, you will meet a prince, and you'll live happily ever after."

"Those fairy stories haven't come true for over 100 years, Miss Wiggins," Connie says.

Miss Wiggins thumps the floor with her cane. "Fiddlesticks! We just have to dust them off...streamline them a bit."

And this is what director Henry Koster, one of the best of Durbin's directors, has managed to do. He is aided immeasurably by a clever script ("This is terrible," says Barbara, Connie's awful cousin, "I can't be more than an hour and a half late to Wilma's party...she's one of my personal friends!") and solid, pungent performances by some very good character actors. The story's sweetness is genuine, based on the intrinsic sympathy for a young girl who manages to overcome obstacles with the help of others, and then finds happiness. Deanna Durbin at 18 is an intriguing combination of naturalness and skill. We like her the moment we see her, and her ability to win us over is enhanced when we meet the family. Her uncle (Eugene Palette) is a gruff man who seemingly only wants to keep far away from his wife and children, as well as away from Connie. When we meet the rest of the family, we sympathize with him. His wife (Leatrice Joy) is unpleasantly scatter-brained. His daughter (Helen Parish), a year older than Connie, is a snobbish, selfish, manipulating terror. His son (Lewis Howard) is so languid he make laziness seem tiring.

There's a lavish ball, and Connie gets to go thanks to the intervention of the servants, led by that great butler-playing specialist, Charles Coleman. She meets a prince of a wealthy young man, Ted Drake (whom she met once before with mud on her face). When they waltz at the ball, all the other dancers fade away in a clever bit of instant love setting by Koster. Then Durbin receives her first screen kiss, from Robert Stack as Ted, as naturally as she acts. After the usual ups and downs for Cinderella, there's a happy ending which involves a matching slipper. Her uncle becomes the worm who turns, dealing brisk and satisfying retribution to his family, and even Miss Wiggins smiles. We are assured that Connie and Ted live happily ever after.

Durbin sings two or three songs, including the hoary old tear-jerker "There's No Place Like Home." More impressively, she sings "Un Bel Di." Impressively, because not many 18-year- olds I've heard of would be able to handle the emotions Puccini lays on with such a trowel. The aria is a tear-jerker, too, but a great one. It takes a singer who knows what she's doing to handle the emotions (in Italian) as well as the notes. Durbin carries it off impressively with her usual uncanny poise.

First Love, except for that title, is completely and satisfyingly charming.


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Bratty Helen Parrish gets hers in the 'end'! noirsam
Favourite Line Morning_Sun
is it... anel964
Is One Segment Cut Out of the Ball Scene? OldFilmLover
Discuss First Love (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?