Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Pack (Three Smart Girls / Something In the Wind / First Love / It Started with Eve / Can't Help Singing / Lady on a Train)
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It was lucky for us that MGM unceremoniously dropped Durbin in favor of Judy Garland. What happened to her would never have succeeded with Durbin due to Deanna's personality, her closeness to her big sister Edith, and her parent's watchfulness. But she certainly would have walked away from Hollywood long before she did, so we can all be grateful MGM let her get away.
When Universal signed her it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Only when they saw the rushes from Three Smart Girls did they expand her role, and the rest as they say, is screen history. The film broke box office records, earning over 10 million dollars for the studio and putting them firmly back in the black.
It was really radio star Eddie Cantor who had made this possible. After Jack Sherrill brought Deanna in for an audition, Cantor took the young Durbin under his wing and gave her a three year contract at one hundred dollars a week. Cantor knew talent when he saw it, and his hundreds of thousands of listeners came to love the golden voice of this Canadian born songbird.
Deanna Durbin grew up in front of the entire country, and they continued to love her, because they could tell she was real. She appreciated her fans, but loved music more than the movies. At 15 she had a 7-year contract with Universal and received 9,000 fan letters a week.Read more ›
Deanna Durbin was one of the most influential and popular Hollywood stars of all time. As the world's first "Teen Idol" and the first child star to make the heretofore unsuccessful transition from child to adult roles while retaining her public and critical popularity, it was Deanna Durbin who first proved that an adolescent, even one with an astonishingly mature operatic lyric soprano, could be a potent and enduring box office attraction. The only performer in film history to be publicly credited with singlehandedly saving her studio (Universal) from bankruptcy and sustaining it as a Hollywood player for several years with the wildly successful grosses of her films, as film historians such as William K. Everson, David Shipman and Ethan Mordden have stated, Durbin remained, throughout her thirteen year tenure at Universal, the studio's most lucrative and valuable asset and its only consistently ranking box office star.
It was the great critical and popular acclaim accorded Durbin's debut in THREE SMART GIRLS and her subsequent vehicles (both THREE SMART GIRLS and Durbin's second film 100 MEN AND A GIRL received Oscar nominations for Best Picture) over the next several years that prompted MGM and other studios to begin assembling and promoting their own stable of charismatic and talented young performers.Read more ›
Universal has done a decent job on these movies, something which is a bit of a surprise considering they have so many quality control problems with their Abbott & Costello series. I made it through all five movies without any stalls or skips.
The transfer for "Three Smart Girls" definitely could have used some attention. It is full of grain and film damage. The rest of the movies rate from average to excellent in their transfers. None of the movies are visually poor enough to be unwatchable, and that is a great thing, because these are movies you will want to watch over and over.
Universal's biggest problem with this set is the packaging, which is horrendous. A loose flyer is inserted in the package, which undoubtedly will become lost or damaged over time. The package itself has no sleeve in which to insert it, so it springs open unless placed between other packages on a shelf. All in all, a very poor design.
It is doubtful these movies will ever see another release on DVD, so don't pass up the opportunity to see them. They are delightful, and getting six movies for this price is still a bargain, even if the packaging is poorly designed and the transfers aren't perfect.
I got this wonderful package last year as a gift and sincerely, after watching the first of six feature films, I had to watch them all, as soon as possible, because I fell completely under the spell of Durbin's lovely screen persona: unaffected, sincere, pretty, down-to-earth, sweet, etc.
The films included in this collection are at least good and most of them very good. In spite of what I've read from other customers, I have to say that almost all the copies of the films are in very good condition, with the only exception perhaps, of "Three Smart Girls", which is somewhat grainy and not so sharp as the others, but then, it is the oldest of the lot (1936), and anyway is in pretty decent conditions.
"Three Smart Girls" is her best known film included here, because it was her breakthrough film, the one which made her a star, as a young girl-she is not even top billed here- who helps her elder sisters to try to bring their estranged parents together. There's some fine comedy, nice songs and expert supporting players.
In my humble opinion, the best films of the bunch are "First Love" (1939) and "It Started with Eve" (1941), both lovely Cinderella-type tales in which her natural talent and unaffected acting shine thoroughly.
There's also a "whodunit"-mystery film, "Lady On a Train" (1945), directed by her second husband, French director Charles-David, a fine and absorbing movie.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved the package!! Especially love "It started with Eve" . Classic Funny. One of my favorite movies! Thanks!Published 28 days ago by Rhonda
As a music-lover who recently discovered Deanna Durbin through a movie on TCM, I ordered the Sweetheart Pack, mainly in order to see Can’t Help Singing, since it contained music by... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Elizabeth C. A. Elwood
Deanna Durbin made several entertaining movies from 1939 to 1944 then left Hollywood for good with no regrets. Read morePublished 3 months ago by The Expositor
Deanna Durbin at her best in a variety of roles all showcasing her acting and exceptional musical abilities.Published 3 months ago by Margot McMillan
Deanna Durbin was the real thing, a girl who loved to sing and had a great voice to prove it. This was her breakthrough film, one which led to over twenty more and which saved... Read morePublished 5 months ago by johnf
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