March 14, 2010

Deanna Durbin in "I'll Be Yours" (1947)

A loose remake of The Good Fairy (the 1935 film - starring Margaret Sullivan and Frank Morgan - was written by Preston Sturges, who is credited in this film), Deanna plays a sweet girl from a small town who moves to the big city, where she lands a job as an usherette in a big movie palace. Among her new city friends are hopeless romantic lawyer (Tom Drake) and restaurant guru William Bendix. In a funny scene, socially-awkward Deanna crashes a big party and poses as a Mexican gal, stumbling around, chomping on celery and botching Spanish. By accident, she manages to sing a beautiful rendition of "Grenada", and naturally, impresses everyone, including the organizer of the party, wealthy corporate exec. Adolphe Menjou, who offers her a job in a musical show. But before she achieves success (or romance), the main characters all get mixed up in several crazy screwball situations. In a cameo, Franklin Pangborn plays a barber who reluctantly shaves off Tom Drake's beard.

Read an analysis of the film by Java.

A perfect rom-com for Valentine's Day, or any day.


  1. It's a cute movie, but presented in a somewhat pedestrian manner. Isn't it interesting that Deanna and Judy Garland both appeared in remakes of "classic" films that starred Margaret Sullavan. Like Judy's IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME when compared to the original THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, I'LL BE YOURS lacks the fanciful, surefooted marzipan tone of 1935's THE GOOD FAIRY, even more so than SUMMERTIME.

    Aside from William Seiter's, too careful, slightly stolid and unimaginative diretion, and Tom Drake's likeable but somewhat bland presence, I always felt the biggest flaw with the film was the casting of Adolph Menjou as the amorous meat baron with designs on Deanna. Not only must this have been something of a "turnoff" to viewers who recalled his touching performance as Deanna's dad in ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL a decade earlier, but Menjou's elegant sophisticated style was in stark contrast to Frank Morgan's delightful performance in the original as a middle-aged bourgeois butcher, comically trying to make up for his lost youth by presenting himself as a sophisticated "lady killer."

    On the other hand, this was one of the first Durbin films I saw, and despite the poor script, I thought she was delightful in it, a fine substitute for Margaret Sullavan (no mean feat), she brings her trademark warmth, charm and wit to the role of the loveable orphan, and, as was usually the case in her poorer vehicles, is much better than her material.

    A cute movie, and an enjoyable one, but you're always left with the feeling that it could have been much better. Deanna certainly deserved a better showcase.

  2. Mark, for some reason, I had not made the Sullavan connection for both Garland and Durbin. It's right there in my face. How interesting! The more you dig, their lives continue to parallel, as you mentioned on my Judy vs. Deanna post a while back. Drake was paired with Garland 3 years earlier in Meet Me In St. Louis, as you know.

    "Pedestrian" is an accurate description. I can't tell you how disappointed I was with I'll Be Yours. Here are two of my favorite leads, I had high expectations (perhaps too high), yet somehow the movie does not work, not even as your average bubbly teen film.

    If you hear that loud applause, Mark, it's me giving you a standing ovation for your point about the casting of Menjou as contrasts with that of Morgan. A "turnoff" is a very generous way to put it. "Predatory" is what that character seems to me in the hands of Menjou, even if one hasn't seen his earlier role as her father. It's all so terribly cringe-worthy.

    About Drake, I'm not sure that I would call his characterization "bland." He's so busy shouting and being rather strident that he makes me pity the Menjou character when they are in the room together (what with the latter's elegance and deportment). Although, Drake's character is morally justified, it's difficult for him to be simultaneously likeable and self-righteous. Herbert Marshall does a fine job of it in the earlier version, however.

    "'re always left with the feeling that it could have been much better." - Mark

    Exactly! That sums it up for me.


    - Java