When Universal announced on February 20, 1946 its purchase of the screen rights to the Broadway show, Felix Jackson, then-husband of Deanna Durbin, was assigned to produce the film. Instead, the studio revealed on November 8 that Mr. Jackson would be opting out of the remainder of his contract after he finished overseeing the editing of another Durbin feature, I'll Be Yours (1947). See more »
Not a bad film, in fact quite good, just a little underwhelming at the same time. It has a lot of things to like, there are a lot of omissions(We'll be close as Pages in a Book- though it's used as a cue at the end- and Fireman's Bride being the glaring omissions) but the music is still absolutely beautiful, the sprightly Oh Say, Can You See standing out. Pace, Pace Mio Dio from La Forza Del Destino is beautifully sung and is one of Verdi's best but most difficult soprano arias. The script is delightfully witty, and the story while not the most exceptional in the world is compelling. The choreography and dancing is professional and danced with elegance. In terms of scenes, Durbin's and Price's scenes are a joy but the highlight is the great Currier and Ives ballet. Deanna Durbin is just radiant and brings girlish naiveté to good effect, she's in great voice too, love the richness. Vincent Price is perfectly cast, while he's at his best in the menacing yet sympathetic roles he'd take on later it's easy to love how suave, handsome, smarmy and charismatic he is. Albert Sharpe is also good. Other than the omissions of some of the best songs of Up in Central Park or reducing them to musical cues, the scant length and Dick Haymes' at times likable but stiff performance(he does have a nice voice though and in all fairness his material is not as juicy as Durbin's and Price's), it's in the production values where Up in Central Park falls down most on. The costumes are fine, but the sets are rather stuffy and the use of locations are far too restricted, any opportunities of seeing the locations properly are not used to full effect and the likes of the zoo and carousel are only seen in as much as a few shots. In conclusion, a pleasant film and a good vehicle for Durbin(essentially what it was billed as)- though Price comes extremely close to stealing the show from under her- but at the same time it's disappointing. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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