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cclowell38

Best Movie Soprano Voice?

139 posts in this topic

Hi Guys:

 

I'm really delighted by the responses in this thread. I've learned a good deal of new information just from the comments that have been posted so far.

 

I'd like to see more participants, but, if there aren't many fans on this forum of the movie sopranos, it's good to know that the few that are here are a dedicated and informed bunch. I think the three of you (Charlie, Markus and Jack) should collaborate on a book on the subject. I promise to be the first in line to buy a copy!

 

Just as a sidenote, I watched the PRIVATE SCREENINGS interview Robert Osborne did with Stanley Donen. I was hoping he might say something about Jane Powell, but unfortunately he didn't.

 

Oh well, since he hardly says anything about her in his commentary on the SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS DVD, at least I wasn't surprised that he didn't mention her.

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Hi CC

 

Thanks for the warning about the Donen interview. Now I don't have to watch it. Donen's dissing of Powell seems to border on the pathological. In addition to your examples, he failed to mention her or Howard Keel at all in an Actors' Studio hour long interview a few years back - and, again, when thanking the Oscar crowd for a Lifetime Achievement award while he obsequiously name-dropped about Fred and Judy and Gene and Audrey and Cary. When watching a screening of the "How Can You Believe Me?" number from ROYAL WEDDING with his biographer some years ago, his sole comment about what is regarded as one of JP's supreme screen moments was "These are all Judy Garland's arrangements. There wasn't time to change them."

 

Perhaps his animus stems from his lowly start as a glorified gofer (choreograph assistant) on A DATE WITH JUDY. Or maybe it's just a lifetime reflex of having been a leading member of the sanctified, dance-oriented Freed Unit at MGM - disdaining, as usual, the classical vocalists of the lowly Pasternak unit.

 

You'd think, though, that he might have shown some minimal courtesy to Robert Osborne, known to be a great off-screen pal of Powell's, and made some reference to her when discussing, as he apparently did, Garland's dismissal from ROYAL WEDDING.

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Hmmm, I could swear that I read M?rtha Eggerth's obituary in an issue of Opera News this past summer... If not, my apologies to Ms. Eggerth for rushing down this path.

 

By the way, the number from For Me and My Gal that reportedly received so much praise at the preview -- "The Spell of the Waltz" -- is included on the TCM/Rhino CD soundtrack of the film.

 

I'm presently watching a movie made as a vehicle for a soprano not yet mentioned here: Bobby Breen, the boy soprano. His name is familiar to me, and I understand he's one of the figures featured on the album cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" by the Beatles, but I'd never seen one of his pictures before. Rainbow on the River is what I'm seeing now (it also features May Robson, Louise Beavers, Allan Mowbray, Eddie Anderson, and 'Stymie' Beard). It's a Shirley Temple in reverse: an southern orphan boy moves in with his wealthy northern grandmother to the disapproval of her other heirs.

 

Anyone know the backstory of Bobby Breen?

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Marco, there's a Canadian website called northernstars.ca. Here's what they say about Bobby Breen (I put a photo of him on the "Gallery of Characters" thread - have you seen it? A real cutie. I'm afraid that, as a child, I always confused him with Bobby Driscoll.)

 

"Bobby Breen was a true child star of the 1930s. Although we state that he was born in Montr?al, many sources also say he was born in Toronto. It is thought by some that he was indeed born in Montr?al, but was still an infant when he moved with his family to Toronto where he grew up. At some point, his family moved to the United States and the very young Breen began to develop a singing voice. He began appearing as a nightclub and stage singer at age seven. He became a radio star in 1936 when he joined the cast of Eddie Cantor's weekly radio show. That same year he was hired by RKO and quickly became the studio's leading child star. In a career that was shortened somewhat after his voice changed at around 13 years of age, Breen made only 9 films between 1936 and 1942. After his film career and after a stint in the US Army during World War II, he continued to work in nightclubs and as a musical performer in stock. For many years he ran a talent agency in Florida."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright ? 2006 northernstars.ca - All rights reserved.

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Hi jdb1:

 

Thanks for the info on Bobby Breen. Actually, I think it was Jack who asked about him. I remember reading that Breen's career was managed by his sister, Sally, who was almost a decade older than he was. She got him entered into various local contests in Canada and eventually scraped enough money together for the two of them to move to New York.

 

In New York, she took Bobby to audition for Eddie Cantor, who initially turned him down. Then, after Bobby made a successful appearance at the Paramount Theater, Cantor hired him for his radio program and Bobby's success on that show (on which he often appeared with Deanna Durbin, who arrived not long after), led to his movie contract with RKO.

 

Breen was one of those pre-adolescent child stars whose career came to a screeching halt when he hit puberty. Cantor dropped him when his voice began to change in 1938, and in 1939 his throat doctors advised him to take two years off to give his voice time to mature, which pretty much spelled the end of his stardom. Although he tried to make various comebacks in nightclubs and other venues, he never was able to regain the celebrity he'd had as a kid.

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Hi Charlie:

 

If you're looking for commentary on Jane, I think you're right not to waste your time on Donen's TCM interview. I don't know if Donen's tendency to ignore Jane's contributions to his films is rooted in personal dislike for her. I think he probably just has blinders on where she's concerned because she wasn't a dancer, and he thinks primarily in terms of his dance contributions to his musicals. Whatever his reasons, I do wish he'd discuss her more often....or at all.

 

I was a little disappointed that Robert Osborne didn't bring Jane's name up himself, especially as both men acknowledged that SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS is one of their favorite films, but I guess he was concentrating too heavily on getting a good overview of Donen's thirty-plus year filmography to think of it.

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Hi Jack:

 

I don't think I've ever seen a Bobby Breen movie. How did you like the movie and Breen's performance? What songs did he sing?

 

Markus sent me a tape sometime back of several of Deanna Durbin's performances on radio which included some duets with Breen the two sang while on Eddie Cantor's show. I liked Breen's singing (songs like "Did Your Mother Come From Ireland," "It's Swell of You," etc.), but I can understand why his career came to a screeching halt with the onset of puberty.

 

Incidentally, PRESENTING LILY MARS is scheduled to be released on DVD this Tuesday, December 19th, for anyone wanting to check the film, and Marta Eggerth, out.

 

 

One soprano we haven't really discussed much yet is Jeanette MacDonald. She undoubtedly made a major contribution to the "Movie Soprano" genre, but does anyone care to comment on her voice and her work as a singer/actress?

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Bobby Breen? Rainbow on the River was a period picture, taking place in old New Orleans. So there were lots of Stephen Foster songs besides the title song and a renditon of Schubert's Ave Maria. He had a clear and confident voice that sounded as if it were trained for the stage. The movie was cliche, but I was interested; if only from the curiosity of seeing a Shirley Temple (-like) movie with a gender reversal. It was also exciting for me to make a new "discovery". It's not often to find an entire new body of unseen work from that period.

 

Jeanette MacDonald? We had a pretty good thread going on her and Mr. Eddy last summer:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/jive/tcm/thread.jspa?threadID=84231&start=60#7813794

 

Here's an excerpt from my first post in that thread:

 

"This would have been a great topic for the Musicals Forum! [And it made it, at last!]

 

Supposedly, to see the real charm of Jeannette MacDonald, we need to see her earlier works with Lubitsch and Mamoulian. These are pre-Nelson Eddy and pre-code. And I've heard that she was quite saucy in them. Once the Breen code came in, MGM rebuilt her as an effete lady. Merry Widow, Love Parade, Monte Carlo, etc. are said to be the true MacDonald movies.

 

Musical historian John Kobal wrote: "Jeanette MacDonald's chin may have been a bit too large for her face (thought they corrected that by giving her a larger mouth), her shoulders too broad (but clothes dealt with that, and Nelson Eddy's were broader), her singing prone to too many tremolos, but she had enormous charm. This, plus large deep-green eyes, an abundance of red-gold hair, and a totally bewitching smile, made her one of the great musical stars of the decade."

 

And of her singing? "MacDonald's popularity wasn't a tribute to a great voice; she was no Grace Moore, [Gladys] Swarthout, [Lily] Pons or [Geraldine] Farrar. She embodied not the established favourite of the Met, but the girls singing in the church choirs who the young men would make their wives; the girl proud parents in almost any town heard in their daughter who was pretty, popular and usually sang the lead in the local operetta productions; the mother children loved..."

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I was fascinated by her from the first time I ever saw her. I must have been 11 or so about the time my town got cable (in the early '60s) and we got (all? mostly?) MGM movies every afternoon from a UHF (converted to cable, of course) station in Columbia, the state capital, 85 miles away. I still have lots of audio tapes from the tv from that period. It was later that I saw the (pre-code) Paramount things. One of those (if you've seen them, you'll know which) gave this young thing bad dreams (seemed like witches) for some time, in addition to all the glorious music (Rodgers and Hart, in this case).

 

My mother says she always felt that Jeanette was making fun of ("our hero") Nelson, as if she knew he was/belonged on a lower rung. I, on the other hand, thought they "sparred" beautifully; not just in "Sweethearts," either. Seemed to me he knew exactly what was going on and was throwing it right back at her.

 

Nelson took an awful lot of heat from some (serious-music) reviewers, both for his records and his live concerts. I have some clippings from Boston around 1950, complaining (this isn't quoting) that he seemed to be singing "at" the audience at times, not with real feeling, and that the audience (already the "blue-hairs," apparently) were falling at his feet no matter what he did. There were nice things said about accompanist Theodore Paxson's contributions, in a way more than Nelson's. Pity. The record reviewers (especially David Hall in "The Record Book") routinely claimed that his movie singing had killed his ability to sing "fine" music well - Mozart and Haydn, in particular; that he had for too long been singing "for the microphone" instead of in the right style(s). Hmph!!! I think his "Creation" disc (one that came in for sharp criticism) could have served a lot of other singers as an example of how to "send" those numbers. And I was nearly 25 by the time I heard those. Now, as to the Mozart, well.... take some, leave some. His later Columbia items (love songs in various languages, etc.) were certainly off the beaten path and bear study; no warhorses there, more power to him.

 

Back to Jeanette: About the only criticism I have heard much (including not just reading but going back to something I remember an aunt saying in my teens) was that it just wasn't really big enough without a microphone. Nothing much about her feeling or style or anything; on her records (and broadcasts) those seem in most cases to be fine.

 

A snobbish (college-professor-type) acquaintance of my late teens (I started as I just barely turned 17), was fond of referring to them as the "Iron Butterfly" and the "Singing Capon." Again, hmph!!!! But then once again.....

 

Be very careful when judging Jeanette's voice on disc, in particular; she recorded for a good 5 years earlier than Nelson. By his time, things had become much more standardized (speeds, microphones, arrangements). Many of her earliest recordings (up to "Merry Widow," at least) were recorded slower than 78 RPM, and she sounds very different (and better) when they are played right (slower). (And, of course, that goes for all the singers who recorded before around 1935.) Even up to about 1937 (but not often after then), "78's" were often recorded at 76.6 rpm; earlier, many were at 75 rpm. If that doesn't sound like much difference - well, 75 is a semi-tone (one whole note) lower on the keyboard, with 76.6 in between (a 1/4 tone, more or less).

 

Lawrence Tibbett is another who sounds closer to tenor than resounding baritone on many/most of his most famous records when not played right. If you've heard his "duet" record from "Cuban Love Song," they played the first (harmony) record fast on purpose, while he sang directly for the "main" voice - one of the very first "overdubs." He could sing high, but not THAT high routinely.

 

The soundtracks are another matter, and usually more truthful in their own way. But it has been mentioned somewhere in the posts about how much the sound editors could do. It seems to me that some (several?) of Deanna Durbin's (and at least one of Grace Moore's) Decca 78's were made from (edited?) film, dubbed to disc. On a clean enough pressing, it's pretty obvious. 78's were usually direct-to-disc, with no chance to "improve" things from other takes; but NOT always!

 

One last (soprano) comment, for now: I haven't double-checked the newest prints/DVDs of "The Great Waltz," but I was shocked (yes, shocked, I tell you!!!) when my mother and I saw "That's Entertainment" in the movies. By then I had played my TV-audiotape of the movie till I knew every part of it and spoke dialogue in advance (shades of "Rocky Horror! - but I didn't dress for it!!).

 

When they played the "Vienna Woods" scene - well, something was wrong. It was still fine, but.... In the standard print, when Miliza Korjus does the roulades before the end -- Douglas Shearer (must have been) had edited takes to create "fantastic" series of note-cascades, lasting maybe 4 measures before the conclusion. In TE, the "real" take (no apparent editing) was used, same voice of course, but standard two-measure roulades.

 

I haven't gotten over it yet, 30 years later. I "knew" from the beginning, probably, that I was hearing the impossible, but I was used to it. The truth was still pretty, but it hurt! With all the cleaned-up soundtracks we have now, sometimes the edits are clearer, too. And, too, Rhino/TCM CDs are good about showing all the dates when portions of tracks were created; fascinating.

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Your tales of sound editing, retakes and reediting reminds me of the first recordings of the The Band Wagon soundtracks that I owned featured a mistake by the trumpet in the middle of "Dancing in the Dark". Later releases of the track deleted the mistake. By the time the rereleases were out, I was quite used to the brassy *blat* of that horn, so was a little disturbed when it was missing.

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Hi Jack and Bill:

 

Thanks for the comments. And Jack, thanks for the Mac/Eddy link. Seems like a lot of people who responded to it liked Nelson but not Jeanette. To me, her voice sounds rather small and delicate, and I don't feel as if she's always hitting her notes squarely all the time. There seems to me to be a slightly sharp quality to her singing at times.

 

I think she had a great deal of charm and she seems to manage her instrument very well. She also was very pretty. It's a very formal sound, though. I mean, she's always emphasizing consonants and vowels to the nth degree and she seems to roll every "R" in existence. I don't think she could do what singers like Deanna Durbin and Jane Powell did in making classical singing seem as natural as popular singing. She simply puts too much "classical" training into her material.

 

I do like Jeanette a lot, though. At her best, she was pretty, charming and her voice did have a lovely quality to it. She also was a good actress, though I admit I couldn't stand BITTERSWEET. I thought she was very mannered in that one. On the other hand, I liked ROSE MARIE and LOVE ME TONIGHT a lot.

 

Bill, I think it's possible that some of Deanna Durbin's recordings, like those of some other singers at the time, may have been taken from soundtrack performances, but I've heard more than enough examples of her voice "live" (radio transcriptions) and on recordings which clearly weren't soundtracks, to say with confidence that her voice was the real deal.

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I love these singers, but I must say that I know very little about them. Were Irene Dunne and Kathryn Grayson considered strong in operetta material? I don't see them mentioned as often, but with my love of Show Boat they of course stand out in my mind.

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Hi Ayers:

 

Yes, I think Irene and Kathryn were both considered well-suited to operetta material. When she sang onscreen, Irene Dunne was almost always singing Jerome Kern with not only SHOW BOAT, but HIGH WIDE AND HANDSOME, SWEET ADELAIDE, JOY OF LIVING and ROBERTA to her credit.

 

From what I've read and heard, Kathryn Grayson also got her best screen opportunities when operetta became quite popular onscreen in the late 1940s and early 1950s. During this period, she not only appeared in the remake of SHOW BOAT, but also the films she made with Mario Lanza (THE TOAST OF NEW ORLEANS, THAT MIDNIGHT KISS), LOVELY TO LOOK AT (a remake of Dunne's earlier ROBERTA), THE DESERT SONG with Gordon MacRae (at Warners) and THE VAGABOND KING.

 

I agree they were both wonderful singers and lovely ladies, too!

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I like Jeanette MacDonald very much, but I agree with comments that she had a rather small and delicate voice. She also had a very formal singing style, which, like her acting, at its' best, I found stylish, and, at its' worst, I found rather mannered. She also doesn't seem to quite hit some of her hightest notes directly. I'm not sure I'd say she's flat on them, but she doesn't seem quite secure in them either.

 

I agree with the comment) that her technique/vocal production was (at least as I hear it) too carefully and formally produced for her to be able to convey the sort of vocal spontaneity that was such a keystone of the work of teen sopranos like Deanna Durbin and Jane Powell (for a comparison just listen to Jeanette's contribution to "The Dickey Bird Song," in which Jane Powell also aprticipates, in Three Daring Daughters). This was undoubtedly one reason that Jeanette almost always played a "high society" type like a princess or a countess, onscreen.

 

Those caveats aside, I'm impressed by the intelligence and skill with which Jeanette managed her voice in venues which included both films and stage, not to mention radio and recordings. I thought her voice blended very well with Nelson Eddy's, complimenting their onscreen chemistry. While I wouldn't consider Eddy to be the most gifted of thespians, I thought he was genial and likeable onscreen and didn't seem to take his image or his films very seriously.

 

At her best, particularly in her earlier, saucier Paramount films, I think Jeanette was a very appealing commedienne. Even in these films, her characters are generally rather "highbrow," but the roles and dialogue are more overtly playful and sexy than her the more formal image MGM crafted for her. But even in her more ossified MGM vehicles, some of Jeanette's playful side can shine through, as when her princess in disguise in NAUGHTY MARIETTA pretends to bid goodbye to a drunk on the dock of the ship she's boarded so as to avoid detection from the palace guards searching for her.

 

In fact, I MARRIED AN ANGEL, the last of the MacDonald/Eddy MGM films (and the one generally regarded as the worst by film buffs), contains of Jeanette's most delightful numbers: the delightfully saucy "With a Twinkle in My Eye," in which Jeanette's earthbound angel is instructed by loyal galpal Binnie Barnes on the art of "telling the truth" without giving offense. Not only does the number allow Jeanette to revisit the sexier side of her Paramount days (as Barnes instructs her in the art of subtle flirting), but the number ends with the two ladies breaking into an energetic jitterbug before shuffling offscreen. I have to say, Jeanette could cut a pretty mean rug!

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Jane Powell..yes, excellent choice. Wholeheartedly agree with your Deanna Durbin assessment. However, if I had to choose the BEST soprano voice ever in a film - even if it just happened once - I have to admit that Eileen Farrell's vocals for Eleanor Parker in INTERRUPTED MELODY still are thrilling. (Although, technically, she may not be in the running since she was a "ghost voice".) Earlier in this thread posters mentioned dismay with Jeannette MacDonald. I was somewhat relieved. I thought that I was the only one in the world who didn't care for her "recital" voice. (With the exception of GIANNINI MIA from FIREFLY, I think), particularly since this lady abslolutely sparkles in her earlier comedies - can't imagine why that voice was so stiff; and even sadder for me, while I LOVE seeing Irene Dunne - her singing is in the same category...maybe it has to to with all of the rolled or "flipped" R's in their diction..wish I liked them more.

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Eileen Farrell was brilliant, and, as one of the few "legit" opera singers who could also sing "pop" wonderfully, well-deserving of her industry-wide acknowledgement as "Queen of Crossover." But I agree with CC's earlier comment that including singers like Farrell, who had the opportunity to develop their voices on stages and without the necessity of projecting a "Girl Next Door"/Ingenue image is perhaps unfair to filmdom's Teen Sopranos particularly, as they DID spend most of their formative vocal years projecting that wholesome image and singing for microphones. For that reason, Deanna Durbin still gets my vote.

 

That said, I agree that there wasn't a finer vocal instrument than Farrell's thrilling and versatile dramatic soprano. But including Farrell in the mix opens up a host of other worthy "legit" soprano possiblities, such as, Kirsten Flagstad (BIG BROADCAST OF 1937), Kiri Te Kanawa (DON GIOVANI, MEETING VENUS) and Renata Tebaldi (who dubbed a teenaged Sophia Loren in a film version of AIDA).

 

While I do prefer more natural sounding vocal styles like Durbin's and Powell's, I do think that Jeanette MacDonald usually made that very formal singing style of hers work for her. It may have been too stylized, but it seemed to me it usually suited the high-born ladies she played, and, as you've said, she was a sparkling presence onscreen in her best films. I thought the same was true of Irene Dunne, who was so brilliant at everything she did, acting-wise, and who could, on occasion, shed her "overtaught" vocal stylings, when appropriate (e.g., "Gallivantin' Aroun' in SHOW BOAT, "Plaisir D'amour" in LOVE AFFAIR and that Norwegian lullaby she sings in I REMEMBER MAMA).

 

They were a talented group, those movie sopranos!

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I have a single recording of Farrell, quite thoughtfully supplied by Markus. The recording is of a 40 year old Farrell who I assume is in her full glory and she is wonderful. But I can't say the sound is really better than Durbin at her best. It is a matter of taste. Durbin's voice takes on some of those same qualities of depth by the mid to late 40's that I think opera experts tend to trash her for lacking. There is quality to Durbins sound that I find particularly appealing and as early as "Can't help Singing" and most likely earlier her voice already sounds to me to be taking on a fullness that foreshadows a truly wonderful fully mature voice. It a shame we didn't get to hear it.

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I have several recordings of Eileen Farrell ranging from pop/jazz (I Gotta Right to Sing the Blue) to grand opera (Verdi, with Richard Tucker); and you're right -- she's Queen of Crossover. I wanted to point out though, that her career started with the microphone too, as she was a popular radio singer before she hit the operatic stage. As I recall, there was some hestitation from opera impressarios to hire her. They had her pegged as an "entertainer", a popular singer and she had to work doubly hard to break this image. Her operatic debut didn't come about until a year after singing for the 1955 film Interrupted Melody (as Santuzza in Tampa). The Metropolitan didn't take her until 1960!

 

But we can't mention "ghost voices" without mentioning the Queen of Ghosts Marni Nixon, can we? And Marilyn Horne (the voice for Dorothy Dandrige in Carmen Jones)...

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I have several recordings of Farrell's as well, Jack, including her marvelous album of Christmas hymns, SONGS FOR CHRISTMAS EVE, which I just put away for another year after giving it ample play during the holidays.

 

You're right, Farrell did start off on radio. Shortly after arriving in New York to begin her vocal studies she was hired for the CBS studio Chorus and shortly after that, she was given her own weekly radio program, on which she sang both classical and popular songs. In fact, her close friend Harold Arlen allowed her to introduce his song, "Right As The Rain," from the forthcoming Broadway show BLOOMER GIRL on her radio show prior to the show's opening.

 

You're also right that, despite her obvious vocal talent, the Met didn't fall over backwards to hire Farrell. 15-20 years before she was hired by the company in 1960, she auditioned for then General Manager Edward Johnson who found her "amateurish and fat." Farrell, who disliked pretense and was never terribly ambitious professionally-speaking, reportedly shrugged her shoulders at the rejection thinking, "What do I need the Met for? I've got a national radio program!"

 

As was the case with the best movie sopranos, I suspect that Farrell's talent for singing crossover stemmed in part from her starting out on radio and learning to adapt her considerable vocal resources to the more intimate demands of the microphone.

 

However, despite her tenure in radio, I think Farrell had more freedom to develop her instrument fully than the younger movie sopranos did. In addition to her radio work, Farrell also did a fair amount of concertizing, including her tenure in the Bach Aria Group, performing with other aspiring opera singers like George London and, on at least one occasion, a pre-Hollywood, Mario Lanza, and she never needed to conform her sound to fit the wholesome Girl Next Door images studios crafted for the Teen movie sopranos.

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For me it's an undecided tie between Jane Powell's rendition of Ave Maria in Holiday in Mexico, and Kathryn Grayson's radiating duet with Mario Lanza - 'Love is Music' from his debut movie, "That Midnight Kiss."

 

These gals know how to carry a tune.

 

Grayson also gives me the chills when she sings 'United Nations On Parade' and 'Sempre Liberia' from Thousands Cheer.

 

Powell is poignant, winsome and out of this world with Musetta's Waltz from Nancy Goes To Rio, Through The Years from A Date With Judy, and that operatic ditty she warbles (the name escapes me just now) with only a piano to follow her in Luxury Liner.

 

Deanna Durbin has her followers, here and elsewhere, but I never found her to have that extra added charm that either of the aforementioned ladies had. Hey there - keep hittin' the high ones!!!

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I have the exact opposite reaction. Powell and Grayson do nothing for me and Deanna fascinates me. Her voice just does something. But I'll admit to not being knowledgeable when it comes to musicals, outside of an unexplainable interest in Durbin. Heck, I don't even watch movies much anymore though I certainly watched my share in the past. My actress preferences run more to Barbara Stanwyck, Irene Dunne, Maureen O'Hara, Sophie Marceau or a Natalie Portman (for you younger viewers :) ) hardly a cavalcade of musical stars.

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Good choices all, except for Durbin. I suppose it has something to do with when movies enter our lives. I first saw Powell and Grayson on a little known local program called "Bill Kennedy at the Movies." Basically, Bill was a Leonard Maltin type who sat in a director's chair and introduced old movies for the Saturday afternoon crowd when I was growing up. I loved them all. Such is the non-discerning blind acceptance of a child. But my affection for both ladies today has not waned. That's a testiment of some sort, at least!

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"...and that operatic ditty she warbles (the name escapes me just now) with only a piano to follow her in Luxury Liner..."

 

The only number I remember Jane Powell singing in Luxury Liner was the french song "Alouette". Is that the one you're remembering? Perhaps there were others...

 

For operatic arias, she neatly sang "Chacun le sait" from Donizetti's La Fille du R?giment in Athena, my favorite Great-Score-Bad-Movie.

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