July 26, 2010

100 Men and a Girl (1937)

"I've never seen such a child in all my life!" - Eugene Pallette's producer character says this in reaction to a persistent Deanna Durbin.

In a story that might remind you of her short film "Every Sunday", Deanna wants to start an orchestra for a group of unemployed musicians, including her father, wonderfully played by Adolph Menjou. The chemistry that he and Deanna have is so good that you'll be convinced they are father-daughter.

In perhaps one of her best performances, Deanna stops at nothing to start the orchestra of 100 men, even managing to meet with world-renowned conductor Leopold Stokowski to solicit his help.

It's interesting to note that Stokowski only allowed himself to appear in four motion pictures (as himself of course), the most famous being 1940's Fantasia.

I would think that a film would need to have a really good script in order for him to lend his acting chops, and this movie really is indeed a good one; it's funny and filled with some great musical numbers. Classical music fans will certainly enjoy it. I'm sure Stokowski found Durbin to be a real promising young talent.

Other great comic performances come from Eugene Pallette and Alice Brady as the sponsors of the new orchestra, Mischa Auer as one of the unemployed musicians, and Frank Jenks as a singing taxi driver. His scenes with Deanna in the cab will crack you up.

Needless to say, audiences and critics were really impressed by Deanna and this film. It was nominated for several Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Original Story, Best Sound, and Best Film Editing. It won Best Musical Score, beating out Lost Horizon, Way Out West, The Prisoner of Zenda, and In Old Chicago. Most surprisingly, it beat Snow White And the Seven Dwarfs!

And Deanna of course went on to star in 19 more motion pictures...

Laura has a great review of the movie at her blog Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

1 comment:

  1. Its a shame these films cannot be shown often on the TV, we would especially like to see the 100 man film.