Search - Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Pack (Three Smart Girls / Something In the Wind / First Love / It Started with Eve / Can't Help Singing / Lady on a Train) on DVD


Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Pack (Three Smart Girls / Something In the Wind / First Love / It Started with Eve / Can't Help Singing / Lady on a Train)
Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Pack
Three Smart Girls / Something In the Wind / First Love / It Started with Eve / Can't Help Singing / Lady on a Train
Actors: Deanna Durbin, Charles Laughton, Robert Cummings, Ralph Bellamy, Guy Kibbee
Directors: Charles David, Frank Ryan, Henry Koster, Irving Pichel
Genres: Westerns, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2004     10hr 27min

Includes: three smart girls something in the wind first loveit started with eve cant help singing and lady in the train. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 08/03/2004 Rating: Nr

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Deanna Durbin, Charles Laughton, Robert Cummings, Ralph Bellamy, Guy Kibbee
Directors: Charles David, Frank Ryan, Henry Koster, Irving Pichel
Creators: Adele Comandini, Albert R. Perkins, Austin Parker, Boyce DeGaw
Genres: Westerns, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Westerns, Silent Films, Romantic Comedies, Drama, Musicals, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/03/2004
Original Release Date: 11/10/1939
Theatrical Release Date: 11/10/1939
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 10hr 27min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

A Rose That Never Fades
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 05/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Deanna Durbin is one of the most fondly remembered stars in the history of American movies. Perhaps it is because we never think of her as part of Hollywood, and neither did she. Though MGM may have changed the name of this young and happy girl with the beautiful voice to Deanna, she was always Edna May Durbin on the inside, a real person. That warmth and sincerity came across on the screen and gave her something no one else had.

It was lucky for us that MGM unceremoniously dropped Durbin in favor of Judy Garland. What happened to her would never have succeeded with Durbin due to Deanna's personality, her closeness to her big sister Edith, and her parent's watchfulness. But she certainly would have walked away from Hollywood long before she did, so we can all be grateful MGM let her get away.

When Universal signed her it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Only when they saw the rushes from Three Smart Girls did they expand her role, and the rest as they say, is screen history. The film broke box office records, earning over 10 million dollars for the studio and putting them firmly back in the black.

It was really radio star Eddie Cantor who had made this possible. After Jack Sherrill brought Deanna in for an audition, Cantor took the young Durbin under his wing and gave her a three year contract at one hundred dollars a week. Cantor knew talent when he saw it, and his hundreds of thousands of listeners came to love the golden voice of this Canadian born songbird.

Deanna Durbin grew up in front of the entire country, and they continued to love her, because they could tell she was real. She appreciated her fans, but loved music more than the movies. At 15 she had a 7-year contract with Universal and received 9,000 fan letters a week. But she enjoyed the simple things like the comics and her pup Tippy. It never went to her head. She could take stardom or leave it. It was not an act. She only loved to sing.

As she grew into the beautiful young woman with such a deft touch for light comedy, she remained a very real person. She toured Army camps around the US during the war, netting over 50,000 souvenirs from doughboys on one trek. She tried and failed at love until she got it right and it stuck. She could be seen on occasion down at the Hollywood Canteen, leaning against the wall having fun while she waited for a lucky soldier to dance with.

And when she'd had enough, she walked away from Hollywood forever. She always appreciated her fans but not so much the way the industry itself treated their own. She left an entertaining body of work that could never be included on one DVD, but there are some wonderful examples of her warmth and magic here in this first ever DVD collection of her films.

The surprise included here is Something in the Wind. It is very underrated and doesn't often get mentioned with the best of Deanna's films. It's Deanna a little saucy, and singing some pop tunes like The Turntable Song and the fun and breezy title tune. A great supporting cast helps this one move along nicely. It's quite fun and a real treat for Deanna's fans to see it included here.

The other films included here are all excellent examples of Deanna's magic, from her first film as a youth to a fun murder mystery with some comedy and great songs. Every selection here has something great to offer Deanna's fans, and film buffs in general.



THREE SMART GIRLS (1936)


Deanna Durbin simply burst on to the screen for the first time as Penny, the youngest of three sisters who attempt to break up their father's impending nuptuals so they can get him back together with their mother. This delightful romp made Deanna a star and saved Universal Studios from bankruptcy. The film itself moves at a breakneck pace, following Durbin's lead as she blows like a joyous and funny hurricane right into our hearts.

Nan Grey is Penny's sister, Joan, and Barbara Read is Kay. Charles Winninger is good as always as the parent who hasn't seen his children in ten years, and has forgotten what it means to be a father. But Penny's strong minded enthusiasm is infectious, and it isn't long before the shallow babe after his money doesn't seem near as important as his daughters.

There are some hilarious moments in this fast and furious comedy and Deanna gets to sing "Someone to Care For Me" and a couple of others, as one plot after another is hatched to get rid of the fiance. Mischa Auer is a hoot as the inebriated Count paid to romance away the fiance. But it is a young Ray Milland as Lord Michael Stuart who gets the most laughs when a mix-up occurs and the girls think he is the one they've paid to lure "Precious" away. Stuart is the real deal but plays along with the charade so he can romance Penny's sister, Kay.

An infectious joy runs all through this film and it is easy to see why this was such a hugh hit. It launched the career of one of the most fondly remembered stars of all time. This film begins with Penny, Joan and Kay sailing in Switzerland and it will sail right into your heart when you see it for the first time. A fresh and timeless treasure.



FIRST LOVE (1937)


I truly love this film. If asked by someone who had yet to see a Deanna Durbin film where to start, in order to get a sense of her magic, I would direct them to this film. She was just beginning to blossom from the teenage sensation who saved Universal Studios from bankruptcy into the natural and lovely actress who would have such a deft touch for comedy, while still maintaining the most beautiful voice to ever come out of Hollywood.

Durbin simply glows here and is pretty enough to make a young man's heart ache in this modern day Cinderella story. Fashioned by Joe Pasternak in a very glossy production and directed by Henry Koster, the screenplay by Bruce Manning and Lionell Houser has just the right blend of the touching, the sweet and the humorous as Deanna would receive her first screen kiss.

The sweet soul Connie (Deanna) is an orphan graduating from an all girls high school presided over by Miss Wiggins (Kathleen Howard). While all her friends are going home after graduation, Connie is headed for New York to live with her uncle Jim (Eugene Pallette) and his spoiled family because he has paid for her tuition and taken care of her in a financial sense since the death of her parents.

From the moment Connie arrives she is a breath of fresh air to the stuffy mansion. Her cousin Barbara (Helen Parrish) is a spoiled brat being waited on hand and foot with no interest outside of her social standing other than the rich young man coveted by all in her circle named Tom Drake (Robert Stack). Her aunt Grace is superficially nice but a little batty about astrology and her cousin Walter (Lewis Howard) spends all his time avoiding work of any kind.

Just as in My Man Godfrey, Eugene Pallette as her uncle Jim is the only normal one in the bunch! So exasperated is he with his family, he is only at home when they are gone and rarely talks to anyone, even Connie. But it is only a matter of time until he blows. Connie's sweet demeanor begins to rub off on all the servants in the houshold as they fall in love with her. Charles Coleman as the Clinton's butler George, Jack Mulhall as the chauffeur, Lucille Ward as the cook and Dorothy Vaughan as the maid are delightful as they come to her aid with improvisational magic when Barbara schemes to keep Connie from going to the big society ballroom party.

Connie is dying to go, of course, as she's met Tom by this time and love has begun to bloom in her young heart. Frank Jenks as the black sheep of the family, Mike, helps detour Barbara and Connie's aunt until midnight, so she can have her chance. Connie makes the most of it, even getting to be the hit of the gala when she mistakenly thinks she is being asked to sing when in fact it was an opera star attending the party!

Durbin's first screen kiss truly was magical, with the breathless excitement of it caught perfectly but not overblown. It was simply a part of the story. But that story ends at midnight for Connie, who leaves in such a rush that she leaves behing a silver slipper. Her mean spirited cousin Barbara tries to take away her momentary euphoria by convincing her Ted was just toying with her.

Even though we can see what is coming next a mile away, there are some genuinely moving moments in this wonderful film. Some lovely songs like Puccini's One Fine Day and the old standard Home Sweet Home are worked into the story nicely. Durbin also gets to sing Spring In My Heart, adapted from Johann Strauss Waltzes with lyrics by Ralph Freed. The finest musical moment here, however, I believe, is when she sings the beautiful Amapola. It will take your breath away.

There is magic all through this film and her name is Deanna Durbin. I can not recommend this wonderful film any higher. I can only say, if you don't love this film, then you simply don't love the movies.



IT STARTED WITH EVE (1941)


Deanna Durbin was always fabulous and on this outing has a nice script and fine support from Charles Laughton and Robert Cummings, making this one of her best. This film is warm, funny and delightful. Durban even gets to do a few beautiful songs that are worked into the story in a natural way. This is really a very funny comedy with many fine moments that will leave you smiling when it's over.

Jonathan Reynolds (Charles Laughton), an irracible, rich and socially prominent tycoon, is on his death bed. His son Jonathan Jr. (Robert Cummings) rushes home from Mexico with his new fiance Gloria (Margaret Tallichet) to see him before he dies, an event the papers can't wait for. But when the old man wants to meet young Jonathan's bride to be, she and her hideous mother have left the hotel to go shopping. A desparate Jonathan talks coat check girl Anne Terry (Deanna Durbin) into pretending to be Gloria for $50.00. It is money she needs for train fare back to Shelbyville because she is abandoning her dreams of singing stardom, which are going nowhere.

A teary eyed Anne has a warm and instant connection with old man Jonathan, who adores her and makes an unexpected recovery thanks to her charm and warmth. This causes complications for Jonathan, who has to catch Anne at the train station twice in order to keep the charade going! The interplay between the two as they start bickering about it is priceless. Even when the old man overhears them and knows the truth he goes along because he can see she's the right girl for his son Jonathan Jr., and the daughter-in-law he wants.

Of course, Jonathan Jr. still thinks he wants to marry the real Gloria and there is a subplot about a party which will be attended by Stokowski and Heifetz, friends of the old man. Anne may finally get her chance to be noticed. But she is too sweet to go through with it and plans on returning home to Shelbyville, prompting the wise old Jonathan to hatch up a little plan of his own.

A night on the town where a delightful Durbin teaches Laughton to do the Conga in a swank nightclub is a particular highlight of this stellar film. Deanna's tearful rendition of "Goin' Home" is another. There is also an hilarious fight scene with Durbin and Cummings chasing each other all over the place that involves biting and pinching which will surely leave you on the floor!

This is one of Durbin's best films. She had a flair for light comedy and a warmth and sincerity to her acting. You can't miss this one if you love Durbin or enjoy a great comedy. This is a classy production and a chance to see for yourself the always wonderful Deanna Durbin.



CAN'T HELP SINGING (1944)


If ever a film was filled with sheer joy, this is it. Technicolor only seemed to add to a film's quality in musicals like this one. Can't Help Singing was Deanna Durbin's only film in color and the vibrant hues are stunning as both Durbin and the outdoors have never been photographed so beautifully. The brilliance of the colors is striking and the story is fun and wonderful, making this not only one of Durbin's best films, but one of the best American musicals ever made.

Deanna is a delight as the young Senator's daughter, Caroline Frost, hilariously scheming to marry young calvary officer Robert Latham (David Bruce) against her father's wishes in this adaption of "Girl of the Overland Trail" by Samuel J. and Curtis B. Warshawsky. Jerome Kern wrote some great melodies for the film and E. Y. Harburg gave them lyrics still remembered decades later.

Deanna fakes a fever in hilarious fashion to get out of singing for the president so she can see Robert instead. But when that doesn't work and her dad (Ray Collins) wants to send her to see her uncle in New York, you can see the squirrel cage spinning in her head and the next thing you know she's gone missing, with a 5,000 dollar reward offered by her father for anyone who can find her. She's off to California, of course, as Robert has been sent with the 4th calvary to guard the Carstair holdings.

She gets fleeced along the way and ends up hitching her hopes on a wagon train heading out west. Akim Tamiroff and Leonid Kinskey are a hoot as the bumbling Russian thieves Gregory and Koppa, who spend the entire film attempting to steal Caroline's huge trunk but ending right back where they started! Circumstances pair her with card shark Johnny Lawlor (Robert Paige), who may need to find a new profession.

Of course they have a love-hate relationship which finally becomes just love. Before this one is over Caroline will have to pretend Gregory is her husband to get on the wagon train, then tell Johnny that she's going to California to marry the well known Carstairs (Thomas Gomez)! By the time they arrive in California, of course, all this catches up with Caroline and causes a lot of fun as she has to convince Johnny that he's really the one!

Her dad shows up and knows right away that Johnny's the right pick when he calls Caroline a liar. As her dad explains it, he's a Senator so she can't help it. She comes from a long line of liars! Gomez has a funny bit as Caroline gets him to play along and pretend he's broke up that she's not going to marry him. There is just one fun moment after another in this fine American musical set out west.

A rousing rendition of Californ-I-Ay and songs like Any Moment Now and the fabulous title tune, Can't Help Singing, are quite memorable. Deanna softly sings the Oscar nominated More and More to Johnny by a moonlit lake. This film makes you want more and more.

You'll find out what Cloud 17 is in this most delightful of films and be glad it's here on this grand collection of Deanna Durbin classics.



LADY ON A TRAIN (1945)



This film is a Christmas snowflake from the wonderful Deanna Durbin. She may have saved Universal from bankruptcy as a young musical sensation in the late 1930's, but by the mid 1940's she had matured into a pleasantly gorgeous actress who made several memorable light comedies. This breezy murder mystery is one of her best. The entire film takes place over the Christmas weekend and it is snowing in almost every shot, making a marvelous backdrop to this fun film.

Nikki Collins (Deanna) is on a train bound for New York for the holidays. While reading a mystery by her favorite author, Wayne Morgan (David Bruce), she witnesses the murder of Josiah Warring from the window of her compartment. When no one will believe her, she hunts down mystery writer Morgan and slowly drags him into her enthusiastic search for the killer. He is engaged to a rather stuffy society babe, and we know right away that he and Durbin will end up together before the final curtain.

The murdered man was a rich shipping magnate and when Durbin attempts to snoop around the tycoon's mansion she is mistaken by nephew Arnold (Dan Duryea) for Margo Martin, the nightclub singer to whom Josiah has left everything, much to the chagrin of everyone. This gives Durbin an opportunity to go to the nightclub and do some amateur detective work, as well as do a sexy rendition of "Give Me a Little Kiss, Will Ya?" and the lovely "Night and Day" while she pretends to be Margo.

The real Margo gets murdered, of course, as does the owner of the swanky nightclub. And everyone seems to be after those blood stained slippers Nikki has found which prove the tycoon was really murdered. David Bruce does a nice job as the mystery writer Morgan as does Duryea as the black sheep of the family. Ralph Bellamy is fine as the good nephew. Edward Everett Horten gives a very funny performance as Mr. Haskell, who has been instructed to keep an eye on Durbin by her father, which proves to be a nearly impossible task!

This is an entertaining muder mystery that is a lot of fun to watch. Deanna Durbin and the great cast make this film light and airy. She married director Charles David II later on and maybe that's part of the happiness you feel from the screen. We get to watch a glowing Durbin solve a murder, fall in love and sing some nice songs, all during a snowy Christmas weekend. What could be wrong with that?



IN SUMMATION:

The only gripe one could possibly come up with here is that there isn't more. There are many other great films available that will hopefully soon be included on another release. Spring Parade with Bob Cummings is not even available on VHS! And only in the region 2 format can you purchase Hers to Hold with Joseph Cotton or Christmas Holiday with Gene Kelly. If you're on a budget and can't afford the equipment necessary to watch these classics, you're sunk.

That being said, it's a delight to have these all on one DVD, though I do suggest picking up the VHS versions as you can because the quality is a bit better on some of them. You simply can't beat this for the price! These aren't just movies, but memories of someone special who passed this way. A fine present to yourself or a friend, from the wonderful Deanna Durbin, "The Last Rose of Summer."
"
Deanna - a well kept secret
Yarby | Medina, OH United States | 08/04/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Deanna Durbin is a well-kept secret, but a secret with which you should become well acquainted. Her movies have great entertainment value, both from a comical standpoint, as well as Deanna's great singing skills. Not too many movies were able to combine these two factors and succeed.

Universal has done a decent job on these movies, something which is a bit of a surprise considering they have so many quality control problems with their Abbott & Costello series. I made it through all five movies without any stalls or skips.

The transfer for "Three Smart Girls" definitely could have used some attention. It is full of grain and film damage. The rest of the movies rate from average to excellent in their transfers. None of the movies are visually poor enough to be unwatchable, and that is a great thing, because these are movies you will want to watch over and over.

Universal's biggest problem with this set is the packaging, which is horrendous. A loose flyer is inserted in the package, which undoubtedly will become lost or damaged over time. The package itself has no sleeve in which to insert it, so it springs open unless placed between other packages on a shelf. All in all, a very poor design.

It is doubtful these movies will ever see another release on DVD, so don't pass up the opportunity to see them. They are delightful, and getting six movies for this price is still a bargain, even if the packaging is poorly designed and the transfers aren't perfect."
DELIGHTFUL DURBIN IN ADEQUATE DVD TRANSFERS
Culture Vulture | Massachusetts | 08/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The four star rating is for the somewhat pedestrian quality of the transfers, not an indication on Durbin's alleged lack of singing/acting ability or appeal as the following commentary will demonstrate....

Deanna Durbin was one of the most influential and popular Hollywood stars of all time. As the world's first "Teen Idol" and the first child star to make the heretofore unsuccessful transition from child to adult roles while retaining her public and critical popularity, it was Deanna Durbin who first proved that an adolescent, even one with an astonishingly mature operatic lyric soprano, could be a potent and enduring box office attraction. The only performer in film history to be publicly credited with singlehandedly saving her studio (Universal) from bankruptcy and sustaining it as a Hollywood player for several years with the wildly successful grosses of her films, as film historians such as William K. Everson, David Shipman and Ethan Mordden have stated, Durbin remained, throughout her thirteen year tenure at Universal, the studio's most lucrative and valuable asset and its only consistently ranking box office star.

It was the great critical and popular acclaim accorded Durbin's debut in THREE SMART GIRLS and her subsequent vehicles (both THREE SMART GIRLS and Durbin's second film 100 MEN AND A GIRL received Oscar nominations for Best Picture) over the next several years that prompted MGM and other studios to begin assembling and promoting their own stable of charismatic and talented young performers. Among the most notable Durbin "follow ups" (as one critic labeled them) were Judy Garland (whose studio, MGM didn't begin promoting her in earnest until after the great acclaim accorded Durbin in THREE SMART GIRLS and who, in contemporary interviews, publicly thanked Deanna for creating a market for and interest in, starring roles for adolescent girls), Susanna Foster (signed by MGM but droppred before she appeared in a film and subsequently signed by both Paramount and later, Universal), Ann Blyth and Gloria Jean (both signed by Universal to take up in Durbin's adolescent roles as she grew into adulthood), Gloria Warren (signed as Warner's answer to Durbin) and, at MGM, Kathryn Grayson and Jane Powell (MGM's most talented and successful operatic Durbin follow up). As David Shipman commented: "Every studio wanted a Durbin, but no one wanted one as badly as Louis B. Mayer."

Although all of these subsequent performers, particularly Garland, were attractive, popular and talented, of the group only Garland seriously rivaled Durbin's great popularity with press and public and only with 1944's MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, released seven years after Durbin's 1937 debut in THREE SMART GIRLS, did Garland (who, prior to ST LOUIS had served primarily as a critical but supporting co-star to Mickey Rooney in their ANDY HARDY and BABES films) obtain the type of "A" list, top-billed solo star status at MGM that Durbin had secured with her Universal film debut. Significantly, despite all of its' considerable resources which included signing Durbin's producer/director team of Joe Pasternak and Henry Koster following their departure from Universal in 1941, neither Grayson nor the unjustly underrated Powell nor their films, though well-made and certainly entertaining and popular, made the sensational impression on press and public that Durbin and her films did, nor have Grayson and Powell's Durbin-inspired MGM vehicles generated the enduring interest and acclaim accorded Durbin and her films by film scholars and historian in succeeding decades.

Pasternak himself clearly recognized Durbin's greater talent and appeal vis-a-vis her MGM rivals. Although he was largely responsible for developing and fostering the screen images of Grayson and Powell at MGM as he had done with Durbin at Universal, Deanna Durbin was the only one of his teen soprano screen stars who Pasternak avidly and diligently pursued to make a screen comeback under his aegis in the decades following her retirement from the screen, and even though Garland in the second half of her MGM career, obtained a comparable degree of stardom to rival Durbin's, in 1945 and 1947, when Garland was at the very peak of her MGM critical and popular acclaim, Deanna Durbin was the highest paid woman in the United States and her fan club was reported to be, as it had been for some time, one of the world's biggest.

Nor was Pasternak the only entertainment executive interested in obtaining Durbin's services following her announced retirement in 1949. According to published reports, among the very tempting and lucrative offers which Durbin declined following her departure from Universal and Hollywood were: a lucrative contract from MGM, the opportunities to play the female lead (Katharine/Lili Vanessi) in the London stage production and 1953 MGM film version of KISS ME KATE (producer Jack Cummings reportedly flew to Paris to offer Durbin this role in person and only gave it to Grayson after Durbin declined), co-starring roles opposite Bing Crosby (who wanted her for both TOP 'O THE MORNING and A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT), the offer (from Alan Jay Lerner) to create the role of "Eliza Doolittle" in the original production of MY FAIR LADY and the offer of a blank cheque to perform in concert in Las Vegas. (Durbin was also wanted by the Theater Guild for the female lead in the original production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's OKLAHOMA! in 1943, but Universal refused to loan her out.)

As for the collection itself, while there's little doubt that MCA/UNIVERSAL could have done a better job of transfering the films to DVD (THREE SMART GIRLS in particular has a sightly grainy quality), the quality overall is quite good, especially considering the bargain price, and most customers should be more than satisfied with the overall picture quality of the transfers, which is a definite improvement over the VHS editions. Moreover the titles contained in the collection provide a good overall survey for the curious viewer unfamilar with Durbin and her work to appraise her career and talent. From her starmaking debut in 1937'S THREE SMART GIRLS (in which she receives special billing as "Universal's New Discovery") to her transition to ingenue in 1939's Cinderella update FIRST LOVE (in which she received a much-publicized first onscreen kiss from screen newcomer Robert Stack) to her first fully adult role in 1941's IT STARTED WITH EVE (which contains some gentle satirizing of the same year's CITIZEN KANE in its' opening scenes), Durbin's Universal vehicles were characterized by top-flight production values and supporting talent (her supporting casts in these films include some of the finest character actors of all time including, Charles Laughton, Alice Brady, Mischa Auer, Eugene Pallette. Akim Tamiroff and Leonid Kinskey) and although more modest and leaner in scope than MGM's bigger budgeted musical productions, they also are more breezy insouciant stylish and sophisticated than MGM's homespun middle-American productions, and are unburdened by the jingoistic, self-serving sentimentality and proselytizing which mar the contemporaneous MGM productions of Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and others.

Moreover the varied genres in which Durbin dabbled in the films of this collection, from screwball comedies with music (THREE SMART GIRLS, FIRST LOVE IT STARTED WITH EVE) to screwball noir (LADY ON A TRAIN), to more traditional musicals ( the lavish Technicolored Western musical CAN'T HELP SINGING, and the urbane pop-oriented screwball SOMETHING IN THE WND), indicate that Universal had a greater faith in her charm and talent to retain her following in out-of-sort vehicles than MGM had in Garland's, Powell's, Grayson's and other of their musical stars to do so. Incidentally, Durbin is also the only one of the "Teen Sopranos" of that era to have inspired true "crossover" appeal. Among the notable artists who have cited Durbin as one of the most important sources of inspiration and/or admiration are: Mel Torme (who lists Durbin as one of his "Musical Heroines" in his autobiography), Maureen McGovern, Jane Powell, Joan Sutherland, Gracie Fields, Lawrence Tibbett, Elly Ameling, Mstislav Rostropovich, Nancy Lamott and Monica Mancini.

More than half a century after her retirement from the screen, Durbin's films remain bright, breezy and enormously entertaining, and prove the uniquely compelling and enduring aspects of both her remarkable talent and appeal. Durbin's independent, resourceful and impulsive screen image has remained surprisingly contemporary, but although vestiges of the feisty "Little Miss Fixit" adolescent/young adult onscreen persona Durbin patented have endured in the decades since her retirement in the screen images of both musical (e.g, Julie Andrews in THE SOUND OF MUSIC and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE) and non-musical (e.g., Sandra Dee, Sandra Bullock,Ricki Lake Hilary Duff, Amanda Bynes, Anne Hathaway, etc.) and other actresses, despite repeated attempts to clone her throughout the years, Durbin remains to this day a uniquely appealing and talented personality, and her best films uniquely appealing stylish and enjoyable products of the studio system at its' finest.

The significant impact Deanna Durbin had on film history and the uniquely appealing combination of looks, and naturalistic charm and musico-acting ability she brought to the screen have never been fully appreciated or equalled and this collection provides a fine basis for finding out why she has continued to remain a source of fascination and inspiration in the over half century since she retired. She's well worth checking out and, whether you're a casual viewer or devoted film buff, you're really missing out on something special if you don't take the opportunity to do so."
A Wonderful Collection of Films
Jim M. | Springfield MA | 03/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Pack is an excellent DVD collection.

Sadly, Deanna's films are not all that popular today, even though she was one of the biggest stars of the 30's / early 40's. Since she retired in the late 40's and has rarely granted interviews since then, her film legacy is rather forgotten by many of today's filmgoers. Even TCM and other cable channels rarely show her films.

But, this DVD collection is a great beginning.

The films here are all quite entertaining. THREE SMART GIRLS, being her first, is a great place to begin. FIRST LOVE is another fun one, and it co-stars a young Robert Stack. SOMETHING IN THE WIND features a wonderful Donald O'Conner musical number, similar to the "Make em Laugh" number in SINGING IN THE RAIN. IT STARTED WITH EVE is very entertaining and LADY ON A TRAIN is worth buying the entire set for if only to hear her rendition of "Silent Night".

The weakest film in the collection is arguably the Western CAN'T HELP SINGING, but it is also the only color film that Deanna made so it is of interst in that regard.

Hopefully, Universal will release more of her films on DVD as all of them are out of print on VHS. All but 2 or her 21 films are available on DVD in the UK."