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It's Tess' graduation day from "Miss Drakes School for Girls". During the choir's performance at the ceremony, Tess notices that her beautiful, divorcee mother, Louise Rayton Morgan isn't there. Louise, an editor for Modern Design Publication, is lying in Dr. Cannon's office from fainting due to being over-worked and stressed-out. At home after the graduation ceremony, Dr. Cannon has a talk with Louise's three daughters, Tess, Ilka and Alix. He tells them that their mother needs a vacation badly, but, the only way she can relax is if she goes without the girls. The girls agree, but, Louise is reluctant, but goes. The girls see their mother off on her one month Cuban cruise. When the girls get home they discuss their mother, and believe if they bring their father back home it will make their mom happy and healthy again. In reality, Louise has kept the truth about their father from them. Their father was actually a very uncaring man, who left them and left Louise to raise the girls on ...Written by
Features one of very few roles given to veteran bit player Moyna MacGill, enabling viewers to see and hear how closely her looks and voice resemble those of her more celebrated daughter, Angela Lansbury. See more »
THREE DARING DAUGHTERS (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1948), directed by Fred M. Wilcox, is a family friendly musical/comedy starring Jeanette MacDonald in her first starring role in a motion picture since CAIRO (MGM, 1942) opposite Robert Young. Though most notable for her eight screen operettas opposite Nelson Eddy from 1935 to 1942, MacDonald by the time was simply a name of the past. Unlike MGM's star leading ladies as Greta Garbo and Norma Shearer, who both ended their careers in mediocre comedies by 1941-42, and unlike Joan Crawford who departed the studio by 1943 to make a triumph comeback and Academy Award winning performance for MILDRED PIERCE (Warner Brothers, 1945), MacDonald made her comeback in this Technicolor up-to-date story playing the mother of three daring daughters, the eldest played by Jane Powell, following her MGM debut success with HOLIDAY IN MEXICO (1946).
Opening at a graduation ceremony at Miss Drake''s School for Girls, Tess (Jane Powell), the graduate, sings along with classmates with piano accompaniment by her middle sister, Ilka (Ann E. Todd). Tess notices her younger sister, Alix (Mary-Eleanor Donahue) in attendance, but wonders why her mother has not arrived yet. Next scene shows their mother, Louise Rayton Morgan (Jeanette MacDonald), editor of Modern Design Publications in New York City, awaken from a faint. Her doctor, Howard Cannon (Harry Davenport) diagnoses to her publisher,. Mr. Howard (Thurston Hall) that she has suffered a nervous breakdown. After arriving late at the graduation, Louise is rushed home. The doctor informs her daughters that their mother is in need of rest and relaxation, prescribing an ocean cruise, but without them. Wanting their mother to get well, they agree to the separation. Being left under the care of their housekeeper, Jonesy (Kathryn Card), Louise sets sail on the S.S. Cubana bound for Cuba. She soon makes the acquaintance of Mrs. Smith (Monya MacGill). Spotting concert pianist Jose Iturbi (Jose Iturbi) also on board, she invites him over. Their meeting finds Jose taking an interest more on Mrs. Morgan. Discovering she's divorced, he not only becomes her escort, but becomes her husband. Keeping her marriage a secret from her daughters, Louise is shocked to learn that, hoping that she and their father, Edward Morgan, would get together again, have arranged for him to come home, compliments of his employer, Robert Nelson (Edward Arnold), a millionaire business tycoon. What the girls don't know is that their father abandoned them years ago, and Louise finds herself torn between two husbands, a concert pianist and a foreign correspondent, whose paths might meet and stir up confusion for the children. The supporting players include: Tom Helmore (Michael Pemberton), Charles Coleman (The Butler), Dick Simmons (Mr. Hollow), and Virginia Brissac (Miss Drake). Harmonica player, Larry Adler, and pianist, Amparo Iturbi appear as themselves performing during Iturbi's concert performances.
The motion picture soundtrack is as follows: "Alma Mater," "Fleurette" (by Victor Herbert); "The Turkish March" (by Wolfgang Mozart); "The Dicky Bird Song" (by Sammy Fain and Howard Dietz); "Passepied," "Liebestraum" (by Franz Liszt); "Where There's Love," "Ohne Mich Ohue Michjear Tag Dir Zu Lang," "Ritual Fire Dance," "You Made Me Love You" (by James Monaco and Joe McCarthy); "Happy Birthday," "Je Veux Vivre Daus Gedeve" by Georges Enesco; "Feliz Cupliano" (Happy Birthday in Spanish); "Roumanian Rhapsody # 1," "Hungarian Rhapsody" "Sweethearts" (sung by Jeanette MacDonald); "Allegro Appasionajo" (by Camille St. Saga); "Route 66" by Bob Troup; "Spring Time" Tchiakovsky's Fourth Symphony No. 4", "Movement CDA" and "The Dickie Bird Song."
The plot to THREE DARING DAUGHTERS seems reminiscent to those Deanna Durbin musicals for Universal in the late 1930s, especially her debut lead in THREE SMART GIRLS (1936). Compliments of Joe Pasternak, who also produced those Durbin entries, would find similarities, though this not a remake but only a rehash with different elements involved. While Jeanette MacDonald's presence gives this production a nostalgic feel to those who remember her fondly a decade ago, Jane Powell's youthful presence provides for the younger viewers of the day. With MacDonald and Powell both accomplished sopranos, watching them duet together is a delight, especially their solo number of "Spring Time" with Powell's tender hold over MacDonald's shoulder showing her great admiration to this living legend. Ann E. Todd and Mary Eleanor Donahue are splendid as the younger daughters/sisters. It's a total surprise to find the adorable looking Donahue is the same television actress, Elinor Donahue, of television's "Father Knows Best" (1954-1960), the first season of "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-1961), and other television roles. As much as this being a 1948 release, the telegrams dated 1946, along with movie marque of COURAGE OF LASSIE and NO LEAVE, NO LOVE, both 1946 releases, indicate THREE DARING DAUGHTERS was obviously produced that very same year.
Though THREE DARING DAUGHTERS tends to go on a bit too long at 114 minutes, with repeated elements of having Edward Morgan stay away or return home grows tiresome, it's a wonder why Jose Iturbi, who plays himself, didn't assume a character name like Jose E. Turbi, for example, so not to have movie audiences believe that the real Jose Iturbi married Jeanette MacDonald. For Iturbi's next film,. THAT MIDNIGHT KISS (1949), he acted under his own name, but no indication of having a wife and three daring daughters carried on from this film. Jeanette MacDonald has come a long way since her movie debut in THE LOVE PARADE (Paramount, 1929). With her two comeback performances, THE SUN COMES UP (1948) being her next and last, THREE DARING DAUGHTERS is the obviously the better of the two.
Formerly available on video cassette, and later DVD, THREE DARING DAUGHTERS can be seen and enjoyed whenever broadcast on cable television's Turner Classic Movies. (***1/2).
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