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It Started with Eve (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 26 September 1941 (USA)
In order to please his dying father, a man convinces a hat-check girl to impersonate his fiancée, but complications arise when the father's health suddenly improves.

Director:

Henry Koster

Writers:

Norman Krasna (screenplay), Leo Townsend (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Deanna Durbin ... Anne Terry
Charles Laughton ... Jonathan Reynolds
Robert Cummings ... Jonathan 'Johnny' Reynolds Jr.
Guy Kibbee ... Bishop Maxwell
Margaret Tallichet ... Gloria Pennington
Catherine Doucet ... Mrs. Pennington (as Catharine Doucet)
Walter Catlett ... Doctor Harvey
Charles Coleman ... Roberts
Leonard Elliott Leonard Elliott ... Reverend Henry Stebbins
Irving Bacon ... Raven
Gus Schilling ... Raven
Wade Boteler ... Harry - Newspaper Editor
Dorothea Kent ... Jackie Donovan
Clara Blandick ... Nurse
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

26 September 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Casi un ángel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,166,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,264,300
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Remade as I'd Rather Be Rich (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Clavelitos
(uncredited)
Spanish Music and Lyrics by Joaquín Valverde
English Lyrics by Mrs. M. T. E. Sandwith
Sung by Deanna Durbin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Miracle Can Happen
5 January 2008 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

IT STARTED WITH EVE (Universal, 1941), directed by Henry Koster, stars popular singer Deanna Durbin in one of her finest movie roles. Not quite a Biblical tale about Adam and Eve and the apple as the title might imply, nor is there any character in the story named Eve, but actually a comedy of errors in the screwball comedy tradition providing Durbin, still in her late teenage years, an opportunity in a more adult performance, with fine support by the diverse Charles Laughton in a character role that's both funny and touching, and Robert Cummings as a young man caught in the middle of a series of situations and having a difficult time coming up with a suitable explanations.

The scenario revolves around Jonathan Reynolds (Charles Laughton) a middle-aged millionaire on his death bed whose final request is to meet the young lady engaged to his son, Johnny (Robert Cummings). To make his father's last days on Earth a pleasant one, Johnny rushes out into the rain to get his fiancé only to learn from the desk clerk that she and her mother are not available. Not wanting to waste any more valuable time, Johnny encounters a hat check girl (Deanna Durbin) and offers her $50 to return home with him and pose as his fiancée for about an hour. Explaining the circumstances at hand, she agrees. Masquerading as "Gloria Pennington," the girl, Anne Terry, meets the ailing Mr. Reynolds, who takes an immediate liking to her. After their union, the old man finds his son to be in good hands, and can now die in peace. The following morning, Jonathan miraculously recovers from his illness, gets out of bed demanding a large breakfast from his servants and for Johnny to bring "Gloria" back to visit with him. Complications ensue when Johnny not only has to locate Anne, who's about to take the next train back home to Shelbyville, Ohio, but to explain to the real Gloria (Margaret Tallichet) and her mother (Catherine Doucet), having returned from their trip, the situation that has occurred. Things become even more complex when Johnny tries to prevent his father from learning Anne not to be his fiancée, and keeping Anne from attending his father's dinner function where she wants to audition for his theatrical agent friends in hope to land a singing career.

A highly enjoyable comedy with an original premise done at a leisurely pace with a couple of classical songs thrown in for good measure making use of Deanna Durbin's singing talent, including Peter Tchaikowsky's "The Tchaikowsky Waltz" and Antonin Dvorak's "Going Home." Supporting players consist of Guy Kibbee as Bishop Maxwell; Walter Catlett as Dr. Harvey, the nervous family physician; Dorothea Kent as Jackie Donovan, Anne's roommate; Clara Blandick as The Nurse; and comedian Mantan Moreland adding humor as the harassed train station baggage man.

Obviously a high point in Durbin's career that did very well at box office, it's interesting to note that a fun movie such as this is not relatively better known. Durbin and Cummings do well in the roles that might have been tailer-made for Irene Dunne and Cary Grant for example. However, the characters of Anne Terry and Johnny Reynolds were obviously written for much younger performers as enacted by Durbin and Cummings.

IT STARTED WITH EVE did play for a while on American Movie Classics (1992-93) about the same time it was distributed on video cassette by MCA Home Video. The Hans Kraly story was redone by Universal as I'D RATHER BE RICH (1964) featuring Sandra Dee, Robert Goulet and Maurice Chevalier, with a few alterations, but like the original, has been lost to cinema history, known mostly by film scholars and historians. Even with the original currently available on DVD and latter cable broadcast on Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: December 30, 3013) might offer IT STARTED WITH EVE some new life to a new generation of movie lovers looking for something amusing, nostalgic as well as lighthearted entertainment by its three principal actors. (***1/2).


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