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Deanna Durbin Passed Away


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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted May 02 2013 - 02:52 AM

Never one of my favorites, but I'm sure she had her fans on HTF.  May she R.I.P.

 

 

http://news.yahoo.co...-092421992.html


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#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted May 02 2013 - 04:43 AM

Yes, I saw the announcement yesterday and had I not run out of time last night, I planned to watch one of her films in honor of her. I'll get to that today.

 

Our own Kevin Koster's grandfather was instrumental in Deanna's early success directing her early pictures that were such blockbusters for Universal. I prefer her work as a more mature artist, but I can certainly enjoy her early roles, the ones that earned her a special Academy Award for 1938. Universal released one boxed set of her films on DVD offering both early and late period Durbin for fans. Allegedly it did not sell well, and there have been no other DVDs here (though many more have been issued in Region 2; Europe seems to have appreciated her gifts more than America).



#3 of 19 OFFLINE   JoelA

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Posted May 02 2013 - 08:00 AM

Yes, I saw the announcement yesterday and had I not run out of time last night, I planned to watch one of her films in honor of her. I'll get to that today.

 

Our own Kevin Koster's grandfather was instrumental in Deanna's early success directing her early pictures that were such blockbusters for Universal. I prefer her work as a more mature artist, but I can certainly enjoy her early roles, the ones that earned her a special Academy Award for 1938. Universal released one boxed set of her films on DVD offering both early and late period Durbin for fans. Allegedly it did not sell well, and there have been no other DVDs here (though many more have been issued in Region 2; Europe seems to have appreciated her gifts more than America).

Not true about the Region 1 dvd releases. TCM released a set of five more DD films as part of their Vault Collection in June, 2010. Following is the link- http://shop.tcm.com/...il.php?p=360570



#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted May 02 2013 - 08:04 AM

Not true about the Region 1 dvd releases. TCM released a set of five more DD films as part of their Vault Collection in June, 2010. Following is the link- http://shop.tcm.com/...il.php?p=360570

 

Thanks so much for the information. I didn't know about these for some reason.



#5 of 19 ONLINE   Rob_Ray

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Posted May 02 2013 - 08:18 AM

I always loved Deanna Durbin.  Her films were expertly made pleasant entertainments if not enduring classics.   "Mad About Music" is a special favorite.  I may watch it again this weekend and let her continue to bring more sunshine into this world.  Not a bad legacy.



#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Robin9

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Posted May 02 2013 - 08:22 AM

I am a great admirer of Deanna Durbin although most of her films are not to my taste.

 

First,  I admire - indeed am awestruck by - her voice which to my ears was by quite some margin the best soprano voice the movies have had. Second, I admire how she made the transition from playing children to playing adults. (I love her work in Christmas Holiday which, contrary to legend, is a lot better than the source novel)

 

Third, I admire how she casually, while still at the top, turned her back on her career and chose instead a stable, non-showbusiness marriage. 



#7 of 19 ONLINE   Rob_Ray

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Posted May 02 2013 - 08:42 AM

One of the obits mentioned that she was the "non-Judy" (referring to Garland), in that she never let her talent come in the way of her personal happiness.  I recall reading somewhere that Judy Garland dropped by to see her when Judy was performing in Paris.  While reminiscing over coffee, Judy started in on her tale of woe and Deanna retorted with something like, "Judy, stop being such an idiot!  Get off that treadmill while you can!"



#8 of 19 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted May 02 2013 - 09:06 AM

I was also unaware of TCM releasing a 5 movie pack in 2010, although an Amazon search shows that it was broken up and sold as individual DVDs in 2011.

 

One of the movies in the pack is Three Smart Girls Grow Up, the sequel to the 1936 film I reviewed here last year. 

 

For my own collection, I have the Universal-released Sweetheart Pack as well as the laserdisc set of "The Deanna Durbin Collection", which contains that sequel as well as one movie that is not legitimately available on DVD:  One Hundred Men and a Girl, which was the second movie my grandfather made with her at Universal (and the second Best Picture nomination in a row). 

 

From what I can tell, Deanna Durbin simply had had enough of Hollywood and was happy to retire from it to a more normal life, albeit a reclusive one.   I think she was happy to live her life as the wife of Charles David in France, without the intrusion of reporters and paparazzi.  She did occasionally correspond with some fans but her preference was to maintain her privacy.  I should note that she did visit my grandfather during the 50s, a fact I was unaware of until very recently.

 

Like Greta Garbo, she wished to be let alone.   And she was able to do so. 

 

I'm saddened by her passing, but I'm happy that she was able to live her life on her own terms and raise her family the way she wished.  Would that we all could do so.



#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted May 02 2013 - 09:16 AM

There was a very nice interview with her by David Shipman from 1981 that you can find on the web.  It's the last interview of her that I believe was ever conducted.  And it shows she was happy to have raised her family and that she continued to sing privately. 



#10 of 19 ONLINE   Rob_Ray

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Posted May 02 2013 - 09:20 AM

I saw a picture of her taken in 1981 and she still looked great.  In one of her rare interviews in the fifties, she said she had gained weight, but there was no evidence of that in the eighties.  I think she had a happy life and, in the end, found most of the good things it had to offer.  No need to feel sad.  Be grateful that her films, and your grandfather's, will live on.



#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Richard M S

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Posted May 02 2013 - 11:24 AM

There are several of her films which seem to be in some sort of limbo and (at least here in the US) have not had an official release in any format:  SPRING PARADE, HERS TO HOLD and CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY.

 

SPRING PARADE, directed by Henry Koster, is the one I have most wanted to see since I read about it in the Citadel Press book, THE FILMS OF THE FORTIES.

 

I hope whatever issues there are for her films get resolved.



#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted May 02 2013 - 01:09 PM

Yep, Spring Parade is the one Deanna Durbin movie I have never seen.

 

I remember when Universal (or was it Decca?) released an LP of soundtrack excerpts of some of her film songs (as opposed to the studio recordings she made prior to the issuing of soundtrack albums). I heard those songs before seeing many of the movies they came from. Fortunately, lots of her movies got issued on VHS where I first collected them.

 

I did find time to watch the delightful comic mystery Lady on a Train this afternoon. Fun from beginning to end even though I've never liked Deanna as a blonde.



#13 of 19 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted May 02 2013 - 05:55 PM

What I find tantalising is that she was originally asked to play the role of Eliza in "My Fair Lady" on Broadway in 1956.  Had Deanna taken the role her career may have skyrocketed once again, perhaps more movies might have been a possibility.

 

I loved Deanna so much and continue to enjoy her films - and certainly respect her choice to retire on her own terms.



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#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted May 02 2013 - 06:27 PM

Pulled out another of my favorites of hers tonight: His Butler's Sister. I really love the sound of her voice in this one. Hadn't watched it in quite a while, and it was so entertaining.



#15 of 19 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted May 02 2013 - 06:58 PM

Yes, "His Butler's Sister" is a good one.  My faves are "Can't Help Singing" and "Lady on a Train" - along with the unlikely "Up in Central Park" which a lot of people tend to downplay - I think it's very charming.

 

I'm more partial to the later Deanna titles (her work as a 'youngster' doesn't really appeal to me) although I do love "First Love", Deanna's modern-day spin on 'Cinderella'.



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#16 of 19 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted May 03 2013 - 04:33 AM

Yep, I like Up in Central Park, too. Deanna didn't like it much as I understand. Yes, from First Love on are the ones I tend to watch. Playing a matchmaker for adults and Miss Fix-It as she did in her early films just doesn't appeal to me.



#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted May 03 2013 - 12:28 PM

Yes, I saw the announcement yesterday and had I not run out of time last night, I planned to watch one of her films in honor of her. I'll get to that today.

 

Our own Kevin Koster's grandfather was instrumental in Deanna's early success directing her early pictures that were such blockbusters for Universal. I prefer her work as a more mature artist, but I can certainly enjoy her early roles, the ones that earned her a special Academy Award for 1938. Universal released one boxed set of her films on DVD offering both early and late period Durbin for fans. Allegedly it did not sell well, and there have been no other DVDs here (though many more have been issued in Region 2; Europe seems to have appreciated her gifts more than America).

 

In the L.A. Times obituary, Henry Koster's son, Bob (who has posted here), was credited as being the person who reported the passing:

 

"She died in April in France, said family friend Bob Koster, the son of Henry Koster, who directed Durbin in films early in her career."



#18 of 19 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted May 05 2013 - 11:32 AM

At this point, I find it unlikely that you'll ever see a release of Spring Parade.  Given how little interest has been shown in releasing the Deanna Durbin movies, and given how many other, better known, movies of hers still haven't been released, I just don't think it will happen. 

 

The surprise to me is that 100 Men and a Girl has never been released on DVD.  This was a huge hit and a Best Picture nominee for 1937, but the only releases it has had were on VHS and laserdisc.  And that's really a shame.

 

I'm glad to know that Three Smart Girls Grow Up is in that other box set.   In addition to the fine singing, that movie has a beautiful two-level mansion set that blows the doors off any of the art direction from her prior movies with my grandfather.  I believe that after two big hits in a row, Universal was no longer in a position to say "No, you can't have that set".   It's very satisfying to see them work with a grand set like that, and to be able to spend so much of the movie in it.  (This was not a set where they just shot it for one scene - it's featured in most of the movie.)



#19 of 19 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted May 06 2013 - 12:05 AM

"100 Men and a Girl" has been released as part of the large Deanna Durbin collections in the UK and Australia - but it's a pity it hasn't seen much love the States.



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