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 »



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Jonathan Reynolds
Jonathan 'Johnny' Reynolds Jr.
Bishop Maxwell
Margaret Tallichet ...
Gloria Pennington
Catherine Doucet ...
Mrs. Pennington (as Catharine Doucet)
Walter Catlett ...
Doctor Harvey
Charles Coleman ...
Roberts - Butler
Leonard Elliott ...
Reverend Henry Stebbins
Irving Bacon ...
Gus Schilling ...
Wade Boteler ...
Harry - Newspaper Editor
Dorothea Kent ...
Jackie Donovan
Clara Blandick ...


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 doesn't know how to break the news that he's engaged to someone else, especially since his father is so taken with the impostor. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Most Romantic Riot Since Eve Gave Adam the Applesauce! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

26 September 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Casi un ángel  »

Box Office


$1,166,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Of Deanna Durbin's 21 features released between 1936 and 1948, only this film opened at Manhattan's famed Radio City Music Hall, starting October 2, 1941. See more »


[first lines]
Newspaper Editor: Ain't it pretty!
[shows staff the newspaper's front page mock-up with screamer headline "JONATHAN REYNOLDS DEAD"]
See more »


Featured in The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked (2000) See more »


The Lord's Prayer
Music by Albert Hay Malotte
See more »

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User Reviews

Deanna Durbin and Charles Laughton, an unlikely pairing in a movie, deliver the goods in It Started With Eve
27 January 2008 | by (San Antonio, Texas) – See all my reviews

Would anyone not take a bet that a 20-year-old young woman would be mincemeat if she tried to take a film away from the skilled and hammy hands of Charles Laughton, especially when Laughton, to modern eyes, looks suspiciously like he's playing Tim Conway playing one of Conway's old, tottering geezers? It Started With Eve, an attractive romantic comedy, stars Deanna Durbin, Robert Cummings and Charles Laughton. It was a shame Laughton wasn't a few years younger. He and Durbin turn out to be quite a pair, both of them adept at delivering smart lines, doing subtle double-takes or moving from subversive good cheer to tear-jerker moments of sincerity. They dominate the film and they do it as equals. Robert Cummings was a skilled light-weight lead. Here. as in so many of his films, he just doesn't have the leading-man gravitas to appear as anything but an earnest puppy. When he shares a scene with either Laughton or Durbin, he makes a pleasant second banana.

It Started With Eve begins with Jonathan Reynolds (Laughton), a rich old tycoon, apparently on his death bed. When his son, Jonathan Junior (Cummings), comes rushing in from a trip to Mexico, old Jonathan asks to meet young Jonathan's new fiancé, who has come to New York with him, accompanied by her mother. Young Jonathan tries to contact his fiancé, can't reach her, and believing his father is now dying, happens upon Anne Terry (Durbin), a hat-check girl. He rushes Anne to the side of his father and introduces her as his fiancé. But the next day his father recovers. Now young Jonathan has his fiancé he can't let his father meet, and his father wants to keep seeing Anne, thinking she's the fiancé. The movie's an hour-and-a- half of mistaken identity and screw-ball encounters. Love finally wins out, but only after Laughton plays matchmaker and Durbin sings two or three songs. Along the way we have some clever lines ("The trouble with being sick is you have to associate with doctors!"), a good deal of skullduggery as Laughton contrives to smoke the cigars his doctor forbids him, and a fast pace set by director Henry Koster. Laughton, of course, overacts but gets away with it. He also has a comb-up hair style that, if he were a foot shorter, would let him pass for a munchkin. He does a lot of stooped-over shuffling, squinting from under his eye- brows, and little bits of business that we wind up hardly noticing when Durbin is around. She must have been quite a challenge for him. Durbin, at 20, is no longer the child star. She's well-nigh gorgeous, with a figure that could make staring illegal. She is natural and straight- forward, and completely self-assured. She's one of the few actresses who could get away with sniffing mightily or falling down next to a piano and make us smile just at her style. She was, in a word or two, sui generis. And for those who admire subversive scene-stealers, the movie has that master, Walter Catlett, playing Dr. Harvey. Catlett was in hundreds of films, usually playing blowhards or flustered shysters. He's a bit subdued here, but just the sound of his voice is enough to make me smile.

The movie is a bit of froth, expertly served. If it's a little dated, well, so am I.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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