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It Started with Eve (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 26 September 1941 (USA)
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 »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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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)
Doctor Harvey
Charles Coleman ...
Roberts - Butler
Leonard Elliott ...
Reverend Henry Stebbins
Gus Schilling ...
Wade Boteler ...
Harry - Newspaper Editor
Dorothea Kent ...
Jackie Donovan


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 »


Goin' Home
from Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, "From the New World"
Music by Antonín Dvorák
Sung by Deanna Durbin
See more »

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User Reviews

A Nice Little Comedy for Laughton, Durbin, and Cummings
6 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Charles Laughton had a personality that was totally dominating, as one can see in his greatest performances as Henry VIII, Captain Bligh, Quasimodo, Sir Wilfred Robards, Henry Horatio Hobson. But he knew (for the most part) when to control his more hammy moments. It is unfair to compare him with his sometime co-star Robert Newton, as Newton had an alcohol problem not shared by Laughton. But Newton's overblown, drunken performances (like his BLACKBEARD) are never matched by Laughton, the consummate professional. Laughton could do a role badly due to poor script or direction. Commander Sturm, the jealous submarine commander married to Talullah Bankhead, is one of his worse parts. But they are usually early roles. Once he was established he rarely made such missteps.

IT STARTED WITH EVE is not one of Laughton's greatest film parts, but it is a feel good comedy. He plays Jonathan Reynolds Sr., a multi-millionaire who is on his death bed. He only wants to see his son (Bob Cummings) and his son's fiancé once before he dies. But the fiancé is not in New York City yet (she will be the next day). So Cummings takes a hat check girl (Deanna Durbin) with him to introduce to his father as "Gloria" his fiancé. Unfortunately, Durbin's personality is very pleasing to the old man - and his spirits rising, his health improves. This brings all sorts of complications up, not even just for Cummings and Durbin.

For example,a side issue in the first half hour of the film - two harpies from the national museum are there to make a death mask of Mr. Reynolds. They are sitting quietly waiting for the good news (that Reynolds is dead and they can make their death mask). Every time it looks promising, they perk up - only to be forced to wait longer. Then, when Durbin plays the piano and sings for Laughton, he gets out of bed to hear it. The two men realize that this is hopeless, and pack up and leave.

Cummings' character is faulted for not confronting his father with the truth, and turning wimpish. It is not quite fair. The doctor (Walter Catlett) feels that Laughton's health has to rebuild itself for awhile before the truth can be revealed, and he convinces Cummings not to tell Laughton that Durbin is not his future daughter-in-law.

All three leads actually blend quite nicely, Laughton's tendency to dominate reduced because he is recovering from his illness (although his booming dominance reappears once, when he gets impatient with Cummngs not supposedly forgetting a quarrel with Durbin, and starts shouting, "Say you forgive her, say you forgive her" in his best Bligh tones). Durbin, who was a good actress when the right part came her way, easily ingratiates herself with Laughton by being his lookout when he smokes his forbidden cigars. Cummings trying to figure out how to break up with the false "Gloria", and to reintroduce the real "Gloria" actually is not so wimpish at just pathetically unable to carry out any of his schemes successfully. Add to the three Walter Catlett, here playing a decent doctor who has gotten onto Laughton's nerves (because of his forcing Laughton to lose weight and to stop smoking) gives a fine performance as he is slowly driven to distraction by his patient's antics. Not a great film, but a good example of a studio inspired comedy that is well worth watching.

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