Top positive review
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A Box of Durbin Delights and an array of starry support.
on 24 March 2004
Deanna Durbin's characterisations are as sweet and innocent as the childhood memories I have of Saturday TV matinee screenings of her movies. The Deanna Durbin Collection of five Black and White movies provide a good mix of Durbin playing the role of young teenager ('Mad About Music', '100 Men and A Girl', 'Three Smart Girls') through to Durbin's flirtation with Film Noir ('Christmas Holiday').
I feel Durbin is at her best playing younger roles as her age-defying looks and her quintessential wholesomeness fit perfectly within the 1930's American musical film genre. Her films were produced as 'feel good' escapism and they work wonderfully on that level. Sit down with milk and cookies and invite any member of your family, from toddler to granny to join you as Durbin's films are truly universal. Regardless of her youth, Durbin's singing voice is substantial with a classical twist, yet bright,breezy and truly life affirming as in 'I Love to Whistle' in Mad About Music (...try cycling to work one day and singing this song as you go to promote Road Radiance instead of Road Rage...). Yet the purity of her voice is quite moving at times as when singing 'Alleluia' in 100 Men and a Girl.
Perhaps reserve the curiously named 'Christmas Holiday' for adults and those who appreciate a slightly subverted form of Film Noir. I found this film perhaps too much of a departure for Durbin. I could never truly equate Deanna Durbin or Gene Kelly with the darker side of New Orleans nightlife and jealous obsession but perhaps I am biased as I love a happy ending.