Classically trained songbird Deanna Durbin was Judy Garland's foremost competitor, often more popular even, in those sumptuous days of Hollywood musicals of yore.
This DVD set of six titles on no more than two discs is indispensable to anyone with the faintest interest in classical Hollywood hokum. I wasn't prepared to fall in love with these films, watched them only out of a sense of duty to film history. Homework, as it were. But how much fun was had!
There are regular gems hidden here. 'Lady on a Train' is a masterpiece of an audacious mix between screwball and noir, in the tradition of 'The Cat and the Canary', but actually more secure in its nonchalant blending of one with the other. It is such uproarious fun and still elementally thrilling.
'First Love', an updating of the Cinderella legend with Durbin and glamorous puppy hunk Robert Stack, is charming and brings tears of bliss to your eyes, and its humour is drier than wood!
'It Started With Eve' is the story of a poor girl being presented to a dying tycoon (wonderful Charles Laughton) by his nephew who claims she is his fiancé. The tycoon survives, and the trap springs on the young couple. Extremely amusing, although very light-weight.
'Can't Help Singing' is a well-produced western musical in full Technicolor with lovely songs by Jerome Kern, although as a film it is entirely forgettable. 'Something in the Wind', about the lady discjockey who is being confused with her aunt who was the mistress of a wealthy man, is naughty and funny, but the oldest one of the set, 'Three Smart Girls', never made an impression on me.
DVD versions are nice to look at. Warmly recommended.