Lady on a Train

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Nothing says Christmas to me more this year than the Deanna Durbin Christmas Noir movie Lady on a Train, directed in 1945 by French Director Charles David, Durbin’s future husband: December 21, 1950. The original story Lady on a Train was by Leslie Charteris author of ‘The Saint’ series of books. Lady on a Train is a fun Christmas movie mystery interspersed with Noir tendencies, no opera in this film. Durbin’s rendition of Silent Night is spot on. David Bruce and Durbin’s chemistry is great especially the Gimme a Little Kiss song sequence. Thanks TCM for adding this Durbin movie to your TCM schedule this Christmas Season.

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Robert Siodmak~Master Stylist of Noir

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Speaking of Deanna Durbin…although it seems most noir gurus gravitate toward ‘The Killers’ (1946) as an essential Robert Siodmak noir film. I can’t help mentioning Christmas Holiday (1944)
Deanna Durbin’s dramatic film debut. Eddie Muller’s article from week two of Summer of Darkness described film director Siodmak’s style in Noir as using ‘Complexly layered flashbacks, bold compositions, dramatic lighting, supple camera moves and flamboyant wardrobe’. Director Robert Siodmak from Universal Studio took W. Somerset Maugham’s story and incorporated all of what we now know as his signature noir moves.
No light comedy or operetta’s in this movie for Durbin, no singing or dancing in the rain for Gene Kelly in this truly dark noir by Robert Siodmak.

Classic Films for the Classic Childhood: Three Smart Girls

LIFE LESSON: When it comes to family, do whatever it takes.

Three Smart Girls: Modeling the importance of family bonds, this favorite follows three sisters as they try to get their divorced parents back together. While not all marriages are worth saving, the lesson here is about a family that helps each other. Its perfect for showing sisterly relationships and how sometimes the kids really do know best. Also that every family member has a role and something to offer the task at hand.

An excellent introduction to child star Deanna Durbin showing all kids the power of following their dreams, this is simply one great movie:)

1939

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The most anticipated film of the year was based on Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 Pulitzer Prize winning novel Gone With the Wind a book about a sixteen year old southern Belle’s loves and losses during the civil war and reconstruction.
Twenty-six year old Vivien Leigh would play two sixteen year old characters in her film career, Scarlett in 1939 and Cleopatra in the 1946 British film Caesar and Cleopatra.
Another film anticipation took place that year for tweenagers all over the world. The release of the modern day at the time re-make of Cinderella titled First Love starring seventeen year old Deanna Durbin. Hearts were atwitter…Deanna would be receiving her first on screen kiss. Pasternak and Koster chose well for the knight in shining armor, the twenty year old Robert Stack. Stack was dashing; tall and good looking First Love was a perfect retelling of the classic love story. The Academy nominated First Love for Music Scoring, Art Direction and was on a list of eleven black and white movies that voters narrowed down to two movies to choose from for Best Cinematography, Stagecoach and Wuthering Heights, Wuthering Heights received the Oscar. Deanna Durbin was a Universal girl; she shared the 1938 Special Award with Mickey Rooney (an MGM boy) for their significant contribution to the screen the spirit and personification of youth and as juvenile players setting a high standard of ability and achievement. In 1939 the Special Award miniature statuette went to Judy Garland for her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile during the past year.
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Deanna Durbin SPRING PARADE

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Waiting here at Classic Hollywood for the release of  Deanna Durbin’s long hidden film Spring Parade, we chose to contact Larry at the Library of Congress to see what was going on.

This is the DISAPPOINTING answer we got…

Spring Parade still sits on our shelves waiting for Universal Studios to release it. I have asked several times and recommended it to Turner Classic Movies. I recommend we write letters and post requests on the IMDB, TCM and Universal’s web site. If they see enough people want to see it, maybe they will put it out.

Help us to get this four Oscar nominations movie off the restoration shelves!

Mention it on at IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033095/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Suggest it on TCM http://www.tcm.com/suggest-a-movie/

Email Universal http://www.universalstudios.com/hvfaq.php

or post it on your own sites to drum up some talk!

Christmas Holiday

Who ever thought we’d see a film where Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin get wrapped up in a murder? We’ve written about Christmas Holiday before, but here we just revel in a mysterious Wednesday night flick. And if you’re looking for a double-feature- Deanna deals with murder in Lady on a Trainas well, where you get to see her sing a very sexy Silent Night. An excellent way to honor our very favorite songbird’s birthday- Happy Birthday Deanna (1921-2013)

Remembering Deanna Durbin

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America’s Sweetheart passed away in the spring of this year at the age of 91 and America barely blinked an eye. Her passing was only a whisper of a blip on the entertainment or news media radar. It isn’t even acknowledged in the Memoriam section on the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences website. This bothers me.

I only discovered Deanna Durbin in January of 2012 let’s put it this way I have been watching, studying movies for over fifty years, thousands of movies…how could I have missed seeing at least one of her movies in all of this time? How could I have never heard her name?  How come Rochellelynn (who hasn’t watched movies as long as I have) knew who she was and I didn’t?

Thanks to the plethora of information on the DeannaDurbinDevotees website I am now educated about Durbin and a member of the Devotee’s, and I am educated about the treatment she received by the last dying breath of the studio system the last three years of her Universal-International contract.

At the 11th Annual Academy Awards held on February 23, 1939 Deanna Durbin received a Juvenile Academy Award for her significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth, and as a juvenile player, setting high standards of ability and achievement for the year 1938. Some of her films as well earned nominations in various categories by the Academy.

Deanna Durbin was also slapped a lot in her movies; once by Helen Parrish in Three Smart Girls Grow Up. Once by Gale Sondergaard in Christmas Holiday, and Elizabeth Patterson really gave her a smack across the chops in Lady on a Train.

I am hoping that on March 2nd 2014 the 86th Academy Awards show doesn’t slap her again by ignoring her in their yearly: In Memoriam tribute.

I am hoping that whoever reads this Post will visit the Website of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and urge them to remember Deanna Durbin along with her fellow actors during the broadcast.

Happy Birthday Deanna!

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Spring Parade

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This spring the world has lost an exceptionally rare talented singer, actress and business woman named Deanna Durbin at age 91.
She may be truly gone now but for hard core Classic Hollywood film followers, she will never be forgotten. One of the reasons she will never be forgotten is through the tedious painstaking work done by nitrate film specialists all over the world and especially those at the Library of Congress;
Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation.
June 1st at 7:30 pm the Packard Campus theatre will be previewing their newly restored copy of the 1940 Deanna Durbin movie titled ‘Spring Parade’, this is a ‘must see’ event in Culpeper, Virginia. You can’t get any better than ‘free’ preview.

Spring Parade is the second movie Deanna Durbin and Robert Cummings appeared in together; they have that spark of on screen chemistry that is so fun in all three of the movies they performed in together. It is also SZ Sakall’s second screen appearance with Durbin after coming to the States as a seasoned European actor ahead of the growing storm of Adolf Hitler’s scourge of Europe. The featured songs from Spring Parade are; Waltzing in the Clouds, It’s Foolish But It’s Fun, When April Sings and Blue Danube Dream. This renovation was an immense project and is a great tribute to a great Icon of Classic Hollywood.
For all of our UK fans that can’t make it to the States for Spring Parade hope you can make the May 24th 7:30 pm showing at the Riverhouse Barn in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey for the showing of ‘Christmas Holiday’ starring Deanna  and Gene Kelly.