March 28, 2010

"Spring Parade" (1940)

Deanna looking cute in a babuska (head scarf)
In this cute film set in Austria, Deanna plays a farm girl named Ilonka. One day she goes to a carnival and meets a fortune teller who tells her (among other things) that she will find her husband in Vienna; the next day she travels there and is determined to fulfill the prophecies.

Deanna's character is somewhat carefree, and it's not explained whether or not she had any work or family obligatons back in her unprounouncable village home.

Once in Vienna, she lands a job as an assistant in a local bakery run by the always entertaining S.Z. Sakall. Other bakery employees include Anne Gwynne (Jenny) and the baker's young nephews, played by Butch and Buddy (Kenneth Brown and Billy Lenhart), child stars at the time that never became famous as a team. They were prominently featured on posters for the movie (see the poster below). I wonder what happened to them; I couldn't find much to read about them on the internet.

The spring parade of the title refers to a parade of soilders that passes by the bakery every day. One of the soilders (Robert Cummings) flirts with Jenny, but she has her eye on another man (a Count in fact, Count Zorndorf, played by Allyn Joslyn). Deanna becomes smitten with the soilder, and inspires him to compose songs, including "Waltzing in the Clouds", which Deanna sings.

She also sings two other songs: "When April Sings" and "It's Foolish But It's Fun", which is a great song to describe this movie. There are some funny shennegans and a few cases of mistaken identity, including a scene where the baker gets arrested and Deanna has to clear up matters with the Emperor.

Cameo appearances by Samuel S. Hinds, Franklin Pangborn and Mischa Auer, who buys Deanna's goat at the carnival.

Nominated for 4 Academy Awards:

Best Cinematography
Best Sound
Best Score (Charles Previn)
Best Song ("Waltzing in the Clouds")

For more photos from Spring Parade, check out this link which will take you to the gallery on the Deanna Durbin Devotees site.

Read Laura's review here. 


  1. Translate babushksa, please. In Russian there is a word babushka - grandmother. But babushksa is new to me.

  2. hi, babushka also means head scarf.