We’re back again today for another film featuring this month’s Star, Deanna Durbin! This time, it’s her 1947 film Something In The Wind. The film itself was based on a story by Fritz Rotter and Charles O’Neal called For the Love of Mary. That was originally planned as this film’s title, until they changed it to its current title, and saved that one for what ended up being her final film a year later. This movie also stars Donald O’Connor and John Dall!
Coming Up Shorts! with… The Beach Nut (1944)
(available on Blu-ray as part of The Woody Woodpecker Screwball Collection from Universal Studios)
(Length: 6 minutes, 50 seconds)
Wally Walrus has come to the beach to relax, but Woody Woodpecker keeps pestering him. This one was quite entertaining! It was Wally Walrus’ first appearance in the series, and he seems to be a worthy foe to Woody! It’s hard not to feel sorry for Wally, who was continually attacked by Woody without provocation (at first), and kept losing no matter what he did. Still, Woody’s antics were quite hilarious, and I look forward to further pairings for these two!
And Now For The Main Feature…
Mary Collins (Deanna Durbin) is a singing DJ on the radio, and has been trying to find a sponsor for her show. One day, she is told that somebody wants to meet with her, and, assuming that the man is a potential sponsor, she agrees to the meeting. However, it turns out to be the wealthy Donald Read (John Dall), who essentially accuses her of being his late grandfather Henry’s mistress, and he offers her a cash settlement so that she would make no claims to the family estate. She tells him that she has no idea who he is (or who his grandfather was), and storms out of there. At home, she finds out from her Aunt Mary Collins (Jean Adair) that her aunt had been a governess for the family, and loved Henry. However, the Read family didn’t approve, and she was fired. When she had to start taking care of her niece Mary (after the younger Mary’s parents died), the aunt had turned to Henry for financial help, which he gave her. Meanwhile, Donald reported the younger Mary’s refusal to settle to his Grandma Read (Margaret Wycherly), who then demands that he and his cousin Charlie Read (Donald O’Connor) bring Mary to her the next day. At the radio station, the two kidnap her, and bring her to the Read estate. She still refuses to settle, and tries to tell them the truth, but they won’t listen, as they’re worried about the potential of a scandal derailing Donald’s planned marriage to Clarissa Prentice (Helena Carter). Since they won’t listen, she demands a million dollars to help support her and her “baby.” The Reads reluctantly agree, but want Mary to stay at the estate until their lawyers can draw up the legal papers. When Clarissa shows up unexpectedly, Mary is sent off with cousin Charlie, who reveals that he knows that Mary is a fake. Instead of revealing that to the rest of the family, Charlie asks for Mary’s help in breaking up Donald’s engagement to Clarissa (since he is in love with Clarissa himself), and Mary agrees to help him. Under Charlie’s advice, Mary flirts with Donald at a fashion show (that Clarissa and her father are also attending). In between Mary’s attempts to ruin his relationship with Clarissa and Mary’s indecisiveness about actually accepting the cash settlement, Donald is getting quite frustrated. As a result, Charlie puts forth a different idea, suggesting that Donald try romancing Mary instead to get her to agree. Donald tries all right, and it works too well, as he and Mary find themselves falling for each other. Grandma Read sees this, and decides to have a talk with Mary. She threatens to disinherit Donald (which doesn’t bother Mary, since she really doesn’t want the money, anyways), and questions whether Donald himself would be happy that way. That’s enough for Mary to reconsider her relationship with Donald, and she decides to leave. Donald’s opportunistic uncle, Chester Read (Charles Winninger), has Mary thrown in jail for extortion, and offers to help get her out in exchange for half the check from his family (an offer which Mary turns down). She tries turning to Donald for help, but the Read family attorneys get there first with the check, and Mary accepts it, if only to break up with Donald by convincing him that she was only after the money. Will Donald and Mary get together yet, or will Grandma Read get her way?
It’s been said that Deanna Durbin hated the last three films she made (a group that includes Something In The Wind), but I found this one to be quite fun! Deanna is still in good voice here, and I think that she had at least three good songs here, including “The Turntable Song,” “Miserere” and the title tune. From a comedic standpoint, “Miserere” was fun, as she sings with the guard at the jail (all the while trying to get the key to her cell off of him so that she could make a phone call), and, when all is said and done, the guard knew what she was trying to do! The rest of the fun is in watching her pick on John Dall’s Donald Read (since he comes across as very annoying right from the start, and arguably quite deserving of everything that she dishes out to him). I will agree that it’s not one of her best movies, but I still think she is good enough to make it worthwhile.
That being said, I think Donald O’Connor steals the movie (in what was his first film back after serving in the army). His biggest moment is the “Make ‘Em Laugh”-esque “I Love A Mystery” song, with him doing some of his stunts and pratfalls, showing what some of the heroes in mystery stories go through! I certainly enjoyed that song quite a bit (and he even brought in Deanna for a little bit of dancing)! He also gets to do some comedic stuff for the song “Happy Go Lucky And Free” as well, but that’s not quite as much fun. The only complaint I have is that the film tells us that he likes Helena Carter’s Clarissa, but we never see much of a relationship between them (and, quite frankly, I would have much preferred to see him end up with Deanna Durbin’s Mary, especially since he was the male lead of the film, billing-wise). It’s not a perfect film by any means, but I enjoyed it like I have with all the Deanna Durbin films that I’ve seen so far (so, yes, I do recommend it)!
What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… Something In The Wind (1947)
This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Studios. The Blu-ray seems to be using an HD scan that looks pretty good. There are some semi-frequent appearances of spots and dirt (more so than there has been on some of the other Deanna Durbin films that I’ve seen up to this point), but nothing so terrible or egregious as to make the film unwatchable. Certainly as good as one can hope for in this case (since it was one of the nine films Kino Lorber Studio Classics had originally licensed and then was one of the six dropped after disappointing sales on their first three-film set of Deanna Durbin films), and certainly recommended for fans of the movie!
Film Length: 1 hour, 29 minutes
My Rating: 9/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Because Of Him (1946) – Deanna Durbin – For The Love Of Mary (1948)
Donald O’Connor – Singin’ In The Rain (1952)
Little Nellie Kelly (1940) – Charles Winninger
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