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...
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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 and is destined for a happy marriage. Afterward she gets a job as a baker's assistant. She then meets a handsome army drummer (Robert Cummings) who secretly dreams of becoming a famous composer and conductor. Unfortunately the military forbids the young corporal to create his own music. But then Ilonka (Durbin) secretly sends one of the drummer's waltzes to the Austrian Emperor with his weekly order of pastries. Her act paves the way toward the tuneful and joyous fulfillment of the gypsy's prediction. Written by
This is a good movie but transfer needed a better source
I purchased a VHS copy from Movies Unlimited that was in new condition. The tape however had some flaws, possibly related to the source material. It looked like there was a few seconds missing between a couple of reel changes and a dropout possibly due to missing material or a bad master. It's difficult to tell. The footage/sound was also distorted at times for some of the songs, which could be due to my tracking on my VCR. I had to set the tracking manually to get the best picture and my VCR won't go to auto track once a manual setting is set. My parents have a cheaper VCR and played the tape with auto tracking. The tape had a bit of fuzz near the bottom of it but the audio may have been a little better with worse video. The transfer was produced by some small company with "Hollywood" in their name. It was better than not having access to the title. Of course I wished for better footage.
As far as the theme and subject of the movie, this movie is almost in the same vein as the original Good Fairy, in that the actress in both films is playing a country girl with little experience going to the big city. This in a sense is a type of variation in the Good Fairy theme with different typical Deanna Durbin musical twists. If your a fan of Deanna Durbin films you'll find this has all the typical things that happen in one of her musicals. When there's a problem, she'll usually end up singing her way out of them. In this case there are a few minor plot differences and twists that aren't in a typical Deana film, yet enough of the same types of things that a fan will feel at home in watching this movie. This movie might rate as one of the top 5 or 6 of her films. And I give it a high rating, SK "skuddles" is in a typical role as well. I think other criticisms of this film are to harse. I think this is a fine light Deanna Durbin film with enough quality to make it rate highly in a film you should watch if your a fan of her movies. The only problem is the transfer and copy that's available. I own a nonlinear editing system and wonder about the chance of finding a 16mm copy of this and maybe actually making an attempt at a transfer and edit into the other copy giving me a better master for my own home use. I almost feel like going after this as a personal restoration project, but I'm afraid there isn't decent source material to be found and think that the one out there is probably/unfortunately the best source available.
These kinds of things happen. Of course you have to rate this within a mindset of when it was produced and the type of movie it is. This is from a different era and to a large extent based on themes in Deanna's other copy of "The Good Fairy" movie theme, mixed in with a little bit of "the shop around the corner". It's a good theme mix. In some ways it's almost a perfect composite of other Deanna and other classic films, because it has so much other little things put in. Having so many little things in it, makes the film appear and actually looser in it's script, it's not as tight a script, but it can't be because it's more of a mix of other film themes all thrown in together. But even with it's loose plot it fits together pretty well.
I've put in my opinion without putting in enough to create a spoiler. I think it's worth watching and owning. If it came out from a good copy of 35mm inter-positive, wow I'd be really happy. I don't know if I can find better audio from her "audio" CD recordings that might be edited into a working dub, but I'm tempted to look.
Why do I watch these films. Well I put them together for my mom mostly. She likes light musicals with good singing and many of Deana Durbin films fit that bill very well. This film rates up there just below her best films in my opinion. There are 21 of her films out there. Many can only be had if you buy the PAL UK version of the DVD collection and do your own conversion to NTSC using a DVD player that can play Europeon PAL and trans-code it back to the USA standard. Some of the PAL titles have distorted sound as well, probably because the loss of decent film source copies of the movies. Truly a tragedy. Thank God for folks like Keno who try to restore and offer rare films before they are completely gone.
Also one more correction. Deanna Durbin films being Black and White are not "rare", all of her films were "black and white" except one. This is due to her high popularity and the studio had to cut corners to afford to have her in the film, so they cut by not shooting in color for all of her films, except one.
If your looking for an awesome older musical with charm, check out some of her movies. Totally family friendly with some great film moments in many of them.
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