This blog was started in 2010 as a tribute to Deanna and her films. On this site you will find reviews, photos, articles, video clips, old time radio programs, news and more.


Deanna Durbin had lead roles in 21 films from 1936-1948


Before they were stars, they appeared in one short subject together.


Deanna is often credited with helping to save Universal from bankrupcy.


She was given an Honorary Academy Award in 1938.

April 26, 2012

Patrick The Great (1945): Durbin's Hand-Me-Down to Donald O'Connor

Deanna Durbin's playful romp It's A Date (1940) at Universal Studios is an original story written by Ralph Block, Jane Hall and Frederick Kohner. MGM famously remade the vehicle for Jane Powell in Nancy Goes to Rio (1950). Between these two releases, in 1945, another remake was released from Durbin's studio - Patrick The Great.

It's the early 1940s and vaudevillian actor, dancer and movie sensation, Donald O'Connor, is joining the war effort. Universal will soon be without one half of a popular duo (the Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland of the lot) - O'Connor and Peggy Ryan. To quell potential rioting of teens at the thought of never seeing their dreamboat onscreen again, and to squeeze as much revenue out of this entertainer as they can before his youth and fame (and possibly, his life) are gone, studio bosses slap together several O'Connor films to be rationed throughout the emergency like meat or vegetables.

O'Connor with Frances Dee and Donald Cook
According to the American Film Institute, the last of these short order films boasts a production date of mid-October 1943 to mid-November 1943, and was released two years later.  Considering that Durbin [who would later work with O'Connor after the war in Something In the Wind (1947)] played in the original a scant three years prior to the remake's production schedule, Universal seems to have been scrambling for material.

The original story makes the gender switch well. Instead of a girl and her actress mother inadvertently vying for the same Broadway role, it's a fellow and his father (Donald Cook). New York Times critic Bosley Crowther deems the film "promising" but ultimately disappointing and "all too familiar." The critic goes on to call O' Connor's aggressive manner "irritating," but he couldn't be farther from the truth. This rehashed story is redeemed by Ryan's and O' Connor's vivacity and charm.

Originally posted at Java's Journey