We’re back for another movie featuring actress and singer Deanna Durbin! This time, it’s her 1939 film Three Smart Girls Grow Up, which also stars Charles Winninger, Nan Grey and Helen Parrish! As always, we’ve got a theatrical short to start things off with!
Coming Up Shorts! with… The Froze Nose Knows (1970)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)
(Length: 6 minutes, 12 seconds)
With an unexpected snowfall, the aardvark goes hunting for the ant. This was another fun cartoon, making use of the weather for some of its jokes. The “predator vs. prey” aspects of the series are still very much in evidence here, but that’s not a bad thing! And, of course, we have a bear that decides to hibernate in the aardvark’s cave, which adds a little bit of fun. Certainly a cartoon I enjoy watching!
And Now For The Main Feature…
Sisters Penelope “Penny” (Deanna Durbin), Joan (Nan Grey) and Katherine “Kay” Craig (Helen Parrish) are looking forward to a party being given by their mother (Nella Walker). At the party, Joan becomes engaged to Richard Watkins (William Lundigan), which saddens Kay, as she was in love with Richard, too (but she can’t bring herself to mention this to anyone). Penny sees Kay’s sadness and tries to alert everyone, but nobody listens to her. After talking with their butler, Binns (Ernest Cossart), Penny gets an idea. The next day, when she goes in for her singing lesson, she looks around at the men there, and when she spies musician Harry Loren (Robert Cummings) (a bachelor), she invites him over for dinner that night, hoping he will catch Kay’s eye. However, when he comes over, he and Joan start flirting with each other, which angers Penny, and she throws him out. Her family assumes her behavior is because she’s fallen in love with him, and so they conspire to have her father, Judson Craig (Charles Winninger), tell her that her voice is no good and that she will have to stop taking singing lessons. Not to be dissuaded, Penny decides to take up a different course of action. She still goes to see Harry and apologize (all the while trying to talk up her sister Joan). The problem is that Joan (who had come looking for Penny) overhears the conversation and is a little flustered as she tries to bring Penny home. They find Richard there, and he offers to take them all someplace, in the hope of helping Penny forget about her “love.” So, being sneaky, Penny asks to go to Club 33 (the nightclub where Harry plays piano). Everybody else is surprised to see Harry there, and while Harry dances with Joan (to learn why everybody is so somber and to tell her he had just accepted a new job in Australia), Penny tries to tell Richard about Kay’s feelings for him. However, Kay slaps Penny to get her to stop. Penny leaves (when nobody is looking), and everyone assumes that she is just being selfish. With no one else willing to listen to her, can Penny appeal to her distracted father, or will the wedding happen (with everyone miserable as a result)?
Three Smart Girls Grow Up is the second Deanna Durbin film that I have seen, and like One Hundred Men And A Girl (which I reviewed last week), I really enjoyed it! Of course, with that information, it’s easy to say that I haven’t seen the original Three Smart Girls. In spite of that, I was able to follow along with this one fairly well (but I can definitely tell you that I hope to see the first film at some point to see what, if anything, I missed). I enjoyed all the performances, especially Deanna Durbin again. Watching her antics as she tried to arrange things for her sisters was rather hilarious. I know I got quite a few good laughs out of it! But she was good during the more dramatic moments, too, helping you to feel for her and her sisters. And while the actress playing Kay had apparently changed between the first and second film (as supposedly actress Barbara Read was considered too grown up for this film), all three actresses feel like they could be sisters, so good are their performances! And that’s not even including Charles Winninger as their absent-minded father, who constantly forgets what’s going on (and accidentally switches coat and hat with Robert Cummings’ Harry)! The music itself may not be that memorable, but, for me, this movie is! Whether I’ll still feel the same way about it if and when I manage to see the original film, who knows, but right now, I like this film very much, and would certainly recommend it quite highly!
This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of Deanna Durbin Collection: Volume 1 from Kino Lorber. This one sported an HD scan, which looked pretty good. Sure, there was the occasional speck or dirt or tear, but certainly nothing that would seriously take away from the enjoyment of this wonderful movie.
Film Length: 1 hour, 28 minutes
My Rating: 10/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
That Certain Age (1938) – Deanna Durbin – Nice Girl? (1941)
Show Boat (1936) – Charles Winninger – Little Nellie Kelly (1940)
Robert Cummings – One Night In The Tropics (1940)
One Hundred Men And A Girl (1937) – Deanna Durbin Collection: Volume 1 – It Started With Eve (1941)
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