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It's a Date (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 22 March 1940 (USA)
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.



(screen play), (original story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gov. Allen
Capt. Andrew
Cecilia Loftus ...
Sara Frankenstein
Lewis Howard ...
Freddie Miller
Virginia Brissac ...
Miss Holden
First Mate Kelly
Mary Kelley ...
Governor's Wife
Quarter Master


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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dulce ilusión  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


In MGM's Technicolor remake, Nancy Goes to Rio (1950), Jane Powell's repertoire included her rendition of a fabled aria sung by Deanna Durbin in Universal's black-and-write original: "Musetta's Waltz Song" from the opera "La Boheme" (music by 'Giacomo Puccini (I)', lyrics by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa). Worth noting is that Joe Pasternak, who departed Universal for the MGM's bigger budgets in late 1941, produced both musicals. See more »


Karl Ober: I can't work in New York anyway. Is this place far from here?
Pamela Drake: Oh, no, Mr. Ober, it's only Maine. You know where Maine is!
Karl Ober: No.
Pamela Drake: Oh, it's practically a few minutes from here! You could write fine there.
Sidney Simpson: 'A few minutes'!
Pamela Drake: [to Sidney, blithely] Yes!
[to Ober]
Pamela Drake: That's all, really.
Karl Ober: [wagging his finger] Then it isn't quiet enough. I have to go further away from New York.
Pamela Drake: Oh, good - it *is* far away! Takes a whole day to get there.
See more »


Edited into Gems of Song (1949) See more »


Hawaiian War Chant (Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai)
Original music and lyrics from "Kaua i ka Huahua'i (We Two in the Spray)"
by Prince Leleiohoku (1860)
Modified Music by Johnny Noble (1929)
Modified Lyrics by Ralph Freed (1936)
See more »

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User Reviews

Deanna Durbin Gets the Part
13 January 2010 | by (New York City/Colorado Springs) – See all my reviews

This is a fine Deanna Durbin vehicle, but an uneven film. There are plenty of chances for Deanna to sing and be bubbly, enough to satisfy most fans, but the stars have to work overtime to keep what little drama exists moving until the inevitable resolution.

Deanna is fledgling actress Pamela Drake, daughter of major Broadway star Georgia (Kay Francis). She works in a small regional theater but unexpectedly gets the chance to star on Broadway herself. Seeking seclusion in order to prepare for her big break, she heads home to Hawaii to spend some time with her mother. On the ship, she meets pineapple tycoon John Arlen (Walter Pidgeon), who first woos her but then also becomes interested in mama. It turns out that Georgia also expects to get the part already offered to Pamela and also wants John. Who gets the part? More importantly for these types of films, who gets the man?

Durbin is amazing, as always, and really gets the chance to show what a child prodigy she was (though clearly becoming a young woman here). She sings several standards such as "Loch Lomond" and "Ave Maria" with her fine soprano voice, and shows maturity far, far beyond her years. If you aren't familiar with Durbin, be prepared to be dazzled by her talent. There's one fine bit where Deanna, trying to convince the big-time producers (including S.Z. Sakall doing his usual hammy bit) to hire her for their show, does several wildly different characterizations in rapid-fire succession which are all excellent. Great acting talent, great singing voice, prettier in a classic sense than Judy Garland, Deanna was the complete package.

Pidgeon is great also, but he is up against formidable competition in the acting department here. He exudes his usual avuncular charm, and actually has some dashing moments on the ship to Hawaii as he tries to woo Pamela. Later, though, he appears bewildered at times, despite supposedly being the one in charge. Kay Francis is the clear loser. She is completely outclassed by Durbin, and is clad in weird fashions such as turbans that make her look dowdy and out of place, especially in a Hawaiian setting. It is difficult to believe that Arlen would choose her over Pamela. Plus, she is given almost no chance to do anything but sit and wait for John and Pamela to decide things for her, so her character and motivations are murky.

Durbin gets to sing several times with her beautiful operatic voice, and she gets to emote repeatedly both as her own character and as the character she is playing within the story. Plus, she has several supremely Diva moments ("I am through with men!"), culminating in the glorious opportunity to stalk off in a huff, the battle won but the war lost. The reality, though, is that she is still just a kid playing in a grown-up world, a fight the real Deanna would be waging until she finally gave it all up and left films altogether later in that decade, hopefully for a happier life without the strain of constantly meeting her own and others' extraordinary expectations for herself.

Ignore the story, but don't ignore Deanna, a true star.

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