7.1/10
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14 user 4 critic

First Love (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical | 10 November 1939 (USA)
An orphaned boarding school graduate secretly attends a prestigious ball, where she falls for the boyfriend of her snobbish cousin.

Director:

Henry Koster

Writers:

Bruce Manning (screenplay), Lionel Houser (screenplay) (as Lionel Hauser)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Deanna Durbin ... Constance Harding
Robert Stack ... Ted Drake
Eugene Pallette ... James Clinton
Helen Parrish ... Barbara Clinton
Lewis Howard ... Walter Clinton
Leatrice Joy ... Grace Shute Clinton
June Storey ... Wilma van Everett
Frank Jenks ... Mike the Cop
Kathleen Howard ... Miss Wiggins
Thurston Hall ... Anthony Drake
Marcia Mae Jones ... Marcia Parker
Samuel S. Hinds ... Mr. Parker
Doris Lloyd ... Mrs. Parker
Charles Coleman ... George
Jack Mulhall ... Terry
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Storyline

In this reworking of Cinderella, orphaned Connie Harding is sent to live with her rich aunt and uncle after graduating from boarding school. She's hardly received with open arms, especially by her snobby cousin Barbara. When the entire family is invited to a major social ball, Barbara sees to it that Connie is forced to stay home. With the aid of her uncle, who acts as her fairy godfather, Connie makes it to the ball and meets her Prince Charming in Ted Drake, her cousin's boyfriend. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 November 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cinderella See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Universal considered filming in three-strip Technicolor. Instead, the studio would first use this color process for shooting Arabian Nights (1942). Note: Universal already had co-produced, along with Gilbert & Sullivan Films, and distributed in the U.S. The Mikado (1939), a British picture filmed in three-strip Technicolor. See more »

Goofs

The position of Connie's and Miss Wiggins' arms as they hug each other. See more »

Quotes

Miss Wiggins: The trouble with you young people is you don't believe in anything. You're afraid, afraid of hope, afraid of happiness.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hers to Hold (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

Un bel di (One Fine Day)
from "Madama Butterfly"
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
Sung by Deanna Durbin
See more »

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User Reviews

Sweet little musical, great for Durbin fans
12 October 2000 | by SGriffin-6See all my reviews

"First Love" was a major transition for Universal star Deanna Durbin, as she was being positioned to shift from child star to engenue (something that Fox was inevitably unable to accomplish with Shirley Temple at the same time). While the film is not an overblown epic, it's lavish in the details, and carefully produced to give the whole piece a maximum of charm. To today's audiences, it might be a bit saccharine, but if you can dial down the cynicism of our age, the film's positive points grow.

Durbin plays much more subtly in this film than she had in many of her earlier films--signalling that she was now "maturer" instead of being a juvenile whirlwind ball of energy like she had been in "Three Smart Girls" and "100 Men and a Girl." Her beau, played by an impossibly young (and almost scarily good looking) Robert Stack, gives Durbin her first screen kiss--a source of major publicity for the film at the time.

The story is an updated Cinderella/screwball comedy, which nevertheless allows Durbin's character to break out into a few operatic arias throughout the film (this also takes some getting used to for modern audiences). The most memorable part of the film, suitably, happens during "the ball," where Durbin and Stack dance for the first time. Employing a charming idea, a shot of a crowded dance floor dissolves to a shot of just the duo dancing, to imply how the pair are so involved with each other that the rest of the world has faded away. If you like stuff like this, then you'll revel in the rest of the film.


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