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Deanna Durbin film day Tribute, dont miss it


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I love TCM, but I have to say I am deeply disappointed that they have not even attempted to show any of her films since she died a few weeks ago.

 

Deanna Durbin was a Huge star, I have seen many times TCM change schedule for far lesser stars, I am offended for Deanna.. And deeply disappointed.

 

TCM for some reason has only shown 2 or 3 of her movies ever, and imho they need to get the rights to show all of her films

 

Three Smart Girls, Three Smart Girls Grow Up, First Love,His Butlers Sister,The Amazing Mrs Holiday,It Started With Eve, 100 man and a girl, Mad About Music...I could go on and on

 

For full disclosure I have all 21 or so of her films and am personally having a Deanna Durbin Tribute in my home, last night we watched Three Smart Girls Grow Up, tonight we are watching First Love

 

But out of respect for one of the greatest actresses in history of film, I want to see this on TCM, I want others to see her films

 

I have emailed all depts of TCM, no response

 

Robert Osborne once talked about...The Magic of Deanna Durbin, so he knows...

 

Come on TCM, do the right thing

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Well if you're offend by TCM you must really be offend by the U.S. Media as a whole.

 

For example, Time magazine had 7 words about her death but spend a quarter of a page on George Jones in the same section and the next week used a quarter of a page on Ray Harryhausen (a minor, behind the scenes movie person compared to Durbin).

 

The L.A. Times had a page on Durbin but the one on Harryhausen started on the front page while Durbin's was way in the back.

 

I believe the fact that Durbin had been out of the spot light for over 60 years had something to do with it.

 

 

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>I believe the fact that Durbin had been out of the spot light for over 60 years had something to do with it.

 

Plus the fact that she didn't have countless affairs; a dozen husbands; botched plastic surgeries; trips to and from rehab; Playboy centerfolds; or problems paying her taxes on time. Nor did she try to regain the spotlight by making desperate comeback attempts.

 

In a strange way, Durbin's rather wholesome life and quiet death is news, because it's just so different than the norm!

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Well to media editors her death wasn't news. As for a TCM tribute; Well of course they should show the films they already have access to but I don't think it makes a lot of sense for TCM to purchase rights to her films just because she has died. i.e. if TCM felt the cost to obtain her films was worth it they should of done so years ago.

 

 

 

 

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It's sad but there is little to remember. Sure she had a beautiful voice but the movies she appeared in were for the most part B&W B's. There were no "Wizard of Oz", no "Meet Me in St. Louis". No "Over the Rainbows". No "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."Most of her fans are long gone. Unlike Garland she had no Holiday movies played every year or a Classic like Oz played often that introduced her to a new audience of fans.

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Although Durbin made some good films its sad there are no classics in the bunch she made for Universal. Now had she only made KISS ME KATE for MGM (which she was wanted for) that would have been something.

 

 

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I am not sure how accurate it is to categorize Deanna Durbin as "one of the greatest actresses in the history of film", or to categorize Harry Harryhausen as "minor", but at this point having one's own Deanna Durbin film festival is probably the best way to go. Even when I told my 92 year old Aunt that Deanna Durbin passed away, she was shocked to know Deanna Durbin had been alive up until that point.Anyway, some of her films were very charming but those later films are rather difficult to get through, IMO. The one film of hers which should be better known is LADY ON A TRAIN, which has a lot going for it.

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Based on the timetables at TCM, I'm still assuming they just haven't picked a date yet. Last year's tributes didn't happen within a few weeks of the deaths. There was time taken even though, IMO, they still picked the wrong films for the Rutherford tribute.

 

Use the contact page at TCM.com to let them know how you feel.

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> {quote:title=ginnyfan wrote:}{quote}. There was time taken even though, IMO, *they still picked the wrong films* for the Rutherford tribute.

Yeah, they can be kind of bad about that.

 

The 2 1/2 minute(ish) TCM Remembers tribs they do when the person dies are great, and the end-of-the-year list they do is always done really well- I just wish that when it came to a 4 film or 24-hour period of said person's films being chosen to air that they'd really stop and think "okay what are four films that show so-and-so at *their best* even if we have to wait a little to show them?" or "what would *they* want to be shown as a fitting retrospective?" as opposed to "oh s***- what've we got that's laying around and paid-for?" or "what've they done that's in the PD?"

 

 

 

 

 

ps- I do note though, that one example of a bad tribute has been rectified by TCM. I feel like they picked some crummy movies to showcase Jennifer Jones when she died, but they've since acquired some new titles of hers and I believe Cluny Brown was part of Ye Festivale.

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on May 16, 2013 10:27 AM

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For those of you that said her films were not classic etc

 

She saved Universal from bankruptcy, when she was at MGM, the top guy said let the fat one go, referring to Judy Garland, that is absolutely true, he meant let Judy go

 

Universal immediately picked her up and she saved the studio

 

She worked with the best in the business, top actors wanted to be in her films, from Charles Lawton, to Franchot Tone, to Arthur Treacher, fabulous actors, she also had great comedic timing

 

She was the highest paid actress in Hollywood for a time, she left the business of her own accord, turned down lucrative offers for years after

 

retirement

 

Her films were very successful, I have them all....not difficult to get, some I purchased used on VHS, some on DVD new, some off tv Ontario and PBS

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I've never been a Durbin fan, and don't really care for her movies.

 

 

But I DO agree with Flutie22 that she deserves a tribute on TCM. MY not liking her has nothing to do with anything. There are 400 or so other channels I could switch to if I don't wish to watch. Her name is synonamous (sp?) with the "golden" age of movie making, and she DID have a huge following in her day. I think that makes her qualify.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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...and I think the fact that she walked away from DER SPOTLIGHT -and QUITE WILLFULLY stayed away- is a *genuinely fascinating* story as well, so I'm all for a tribute.

 

ps- so long as it contains Christmas Holiday- a film I want to see for all sorts of reasons.

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>She saved Universal from bankruptcy

 

That is not entirely accurate. I get a bit tired of having to go through this every time. Universal's loans were being called in, and the studio was about to fold. At the same time, W.C. Fields had just finished at Paramount and he was more popular than ever on radio. He decided to sign with Universal, instead of continuing with Paramount. The minute his signature was on the paperwork, the bank changed its decision about foreclosing and extended Universal's loans. Most of Fields' movies at Universal were smash hits and quickly brought Universal out from under.

 

Meanwhile, Deanna caught on big and her films were very profitable, too. She helped carry Universal through the war years (along with the studio's immensely popular serials), especially when Fields' health declined and his output ground to a halt.

 

Again, Deanna did not save Universal. W.C. Fields did, because he was a known name, a proven commodity, and his signing on at the studio restored investors' faith in Universal.

 

I am not down-playing Deanna's importance at that time, but to give her all the credit simply is not accurate. If Fields had not signed, then there would not have been a Universal for Deanna and the others that came afterward, like Yvonne de Carlo, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and Audie Murphy.

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I would hope that 99% of the people at this forum believe a star with the legacy of Durbin qualifies for a tribute. I know I do, but that isn't really the issue here. In fact the issue here is the same issues that is one of the most common issues questions discussed at this forum;

 

WHY, doesn't TCM show certain movies? The Durbin movies TCM has available to show are limited due to access rights. Durbin made most of her movies for Universal. Everyone that is a regular at this forum knows about the Universal access rights 'issues'.

 

For the record I have NO idea what TCM is doing or planning on doing with Durbin. I HOPE, the delay in a tribute is because they are trying to obtain temporary rights to some of her films so they can do a robust tribute.

 

If TCM was to show only the Durbin movies they have rights to now, the Durbin fans would create threads with questions like 'how could TCM have a Durbin tribute and NOT show film XYZ!'.

 

 

 

 

 

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I believe we discussed this before (and prior to her passing). I also was NOT very familar with Durbin and her movies. I had heard of her but only as it related to Judy Garland. As I said, TCM viewers don't see Durbin much due to access right issues so it isn't strange that someone that was as successful as she was (but for a limited time period), might be under appreciated by TCM viewers like us.

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Not sure about this. Universal was having a shake-up in 1936; Deanna Durbin filmed THREE SMART GIRLS that year, and was released at the very end of 36/beginning of 37. Its huge success ensured that the studio could continue as a solvent entity.

 

WC Fields filmed his last movie for Paramount in late 1937, and his first for Universal at the end of 1938. By then, Deanna Durbin had starred in several hugely popular hits for Universal.

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Deanna Durbin was one of Hollywood's top stars in the late 1930s and throughout the 40s, from her first starring role until she walked away. Her current fame, or lack of it, should not dictate how she is remembered by TCM; nor should the popularity or current views of her style of singing, movies, image, etc. She definitely deserves a meaningful, reasonably thorough tribute on TCM.....hopefully TCM can get some of new titles from Universal for this.

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You would know better than all the Hollywood books I have looked up her name in, more than all the movie historians I have read comments of etc

 

So yes I yield to you over all others LOL

 

Hey I like WC Fields btw, have seen all his pictures

 

Even in her first film, Three Smart Girls...It lists everybody that is in it in the opening credits, then it says at the very end of the introductions...

 

And introducing Universals New Discovery, Deanna Durbin as Penny

 

I could post links for you, but its all out there to see

 

And for the people that said they did not like her films, even though they have not seen them...LOL

 

The supporting cast around her was just fabulous, to not like her films would be to not like Charles Winninger, or Arthur Treacher or Walter Catlett ...I could go on and on

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I would love to see a day devoted to Deanna Durbin films. I'd love to see Lady on a Train, Christmas Holiday and see her sing "Danny Boy" in Because of Him and the glorious "Nessun Dorma" in His Butler's Sister. And 3 Smart Girls. I've always adored Ms. Durbin's movies and her incredible singing voice. Oh, please, TCM? Do a tribute day to her.

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I'd love to see an appropriate TCM tribute to Deanna, but given the paucity of Durbin films that TCM owns outright for broadcast (it only owns the rights to 1940's IT'S A DATE and has leased the other Durbin titles it has shown), I don't think it likely in the foreseeable future. This is why Durbin's films are not better known, not because there isn't an audience for them. (When released in the mid-1990s on VHS the DEANNA DURBIN COLLECTION became the best selling set of films devoted to a "classic Hollywood star" in the history of MCA/UNIVERSAL Home Video), but because they aren't available for regular broadcast, and haven't been for almost 50 years.

 

As for why Durbin should be considered a more than worthy candidate for such a tribute here are a few factors to consider which, I think, are not debateable (though I certainly welcome input on whether that statement is accurate):

 

-She was almost certainly America's, and unquestionably filmdom's first "Teen Idol." The first performer, male or female, who disproved the long held notion of studio executives throughout Hollywood that an adolescent performer was "box office poison.";

 

-In many ways, she was Hollywood's greatest "Teen Star." Although there were successful adolescent actors and actresses prior to Durbin's debut (e.g., Mickey Rooney, Bonita Granville, Anne Shirley), she was the first film performer whose instantaneous and enormous popularity was predicated on her BEING an adolescent. She is also the only one of her talented adolescent film peers (and follow-ups) whose stardom was predicated on selling her appeal and her appeal alone.

 

Unlike Mickey Rooney, whose rise to stardom was contemporaneous with Durbin and who owed his phenomenal success largely to his being cast in the hugely successful ANDY HARDY films (not to mention his teamings with Judy Garland and his co-starring stints with other top stars like Wallace Beery, Freddie Bartholomew and Spencer Tracy and others), Durbin appeared exclusively in ORIGINAL scripts that took advantage of her enormous worldwide popularity to sell HER appeal.

 

Thus, more than any other child star of the Studio Era, audiences watched Durbin mature in a lineal fashion, and audiences flocked to see such milestones in her onscreen development as her first "beau" (Jackie Moran in MAD ABOUT MUSIC) her first "older man crush" (Melvyn Douglas in THAT CERTAIN AGE) her first onscreen kiss (Robert Stack in FIRST LOVE) her first "serious" romance with a mature man (Walter Pidgeon in IT'S A DATE) and her efforts to lose her virginity to an older man (Franchot Tone in NICE GIRL?) While Mickey Rooney was also "Andy Hardy," as Universal's advertising campaigns for her films consistently demonstrated, it didn't matter whether Durbin was "Penny Craig," "Patsy Cardwell," "Alice Fullerton," "Connie Harding," or "Jane Dana," audiences flocked to see DEANNA whatever the character's name was.

 

-Deanna Durbin was the only musical star of the Studio Era to carry her films to success singlehandedly. Through 21 feature films for Universal, she was always THE star attraction of every film: not only the central character around whom the motivations of the other characters revolved, but the center of all the publicity/advertising of her films. This was as true of her first film, THREE SMART GIRLS ("Film debut of Deanna Durbin! Radio's Sensational Songbird!") as it was of her last, 1948's FOR THE LOVE OF MARY ("She's got them all on her party line!") in advertisements showing White House telephonist Durbin surrounded by the leading men in the film. To this day, according to a longtime Durbin fan, she still holds the record as the only performer in film history to singlehandedly carry ten successive films to universal critical and box office success, and while critical response to some of her later vehicles was more mixed, her string of box office successes continued well into the 1940s.

 

-This was an especially remarkable feat as Durbin was the only great musical star of the Studio Era to hardly ever share the musical programs of her films with another performer. She was not only the only vocalist in most of her films, she was almost always the only musical presence, and due to the simplicity of the staging of her numbers, and her enormous popularity with audiences, I can't think of another film vocalist, male or female, child or adult of the Studio Era, who had to rely so consistently and exclusively on their singing and acting talent and charm to put over their song selections. In fact, according to Ethan Mordden, she really only appeared in one true "musical" as the other studios would define the term: 1944's CAN'T HELP SINGING.

 

-Deanna Durbin was the first popular film "child star" to successfully make the transition to adult performer onscreen while retaining her popularity.

 

-Not one of Durbin's 21 feature films for Universal was a "B" movie. All of them were "A" list productions with top line talents in front of and behind the camera, and all of them were at least as highly budgeted as contemporaneous vehicles produced by Universal CO-STARRING top stars of the period like James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich, Dietrich and John Wayne, Irene Dunne and Robert Montgomery, and Margaret Sullavan and Charles Boyer.

 

On camera, Durbin's supporting casts are a continuous creme-de-la-creme of Hollywood's finest character actors of the period: people like Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Walter Brennan, Adolph Menjou, William Frawley, Helen Broderick, Frank Jenks, Akim Tamiroff, Hugo Haas, and Margaret Wycherly added texture and spice to the Durbin scripts while complimenting her own considerable talent as an actress and comedienne. Behind the camera, Durbin had top craftsmen working on her films such as directors Henry Koster Jean Renoir, and Frank Borzage, top cameramen like Joseph Valentine and Woody Brendell, top composers for the background scores of her films like Miklos Rosza, Charles Previn and Johnny Green and top designers like Vera West, Adrian and Orry-Kelly. She may not have had the advantage of a longstanding, continually developing entity like MGM's iconic "Freed Unit," but, as Ethan Mordden observed in his book THE HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS: "Durbin's vehicles stand out from all other Universal series by natur of their distinguished casts-again, with much free-lancing and borrowing."

 

Where Universal cut corners on Durbin fims was usually most apparent in the casting of her romantic leads once she graduated to mature roles. While film historian David Shipman may not be entirely accurate in his opinion that once she graduated to romantic roles Deanna "was to be plagued by dull leading men until she retired," she never did get to appear opposite a star of comparable box office clout and eminence, her closest one probably being the middle-aged Charles Laughton, who, though delightful in his films with her, never was cast as a romantic lead.

 

Universal also cut corners in the "original scores" given to Durbin films. Mordden is correct that only once, in 1944's CAN'T HELP SINGING, did Deanna have a top drawer composer/yricist team working on her behalf. She didn't enjoy the benefits that contemporary musical talents at rival studios like RKO, MGM, 20TH CENTURY and PARAMOUNT did of top musical talents like Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen and Harry Warren/Johnny Mercer composing original scores for her.

 

Still, the scores of her films, with their mixture of new songs, classic showpieces, and much loved "folk" and concert songs, were unlike any other scores of the period, marked her as perhaps the most versatile film vocalist of the period (certainly one of them) and used music in a way that was entirely different from the "let's put on a show" format of most contemporary musical produtions and among those talents whose works she promoted were: Mozart, Puccini, Bizet, Flotow, Delibes, and, in a less "classical" vein: Cole Porter, Robert Stoltz, Frank Loesser, Jimmy McHugh, Johnny Green and Leo Robin. Perhaps not equal to the best of MGM or Astaire/Rogers at RKO, but not a bad lot overall.

 

Perhaps more significantly, and more impressively, given that she seldom had top original music masters for her films, Deanna's instantaneous and enduring success, more than any other factor, was responsible for rewriting the rules for the manner in which Hollywood presented classical music and singing onscreen. Not only was she solo, top-billed in the first Hollywood production to successfully present classical music onscreen in a popular vein (1937's ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL), but, following her success, Hollywood, with the exception of a few half-hearted tries (.e.g, Ilona Massey, Irene Manning, Rise Stevens) abandoned its' efforts to present "screen operettas" of the MacDonald/Eddy and Grace Moore genres and jumped on the "Teen Soprano" bandwagon, as rival studios, and Universal itself, scrambled to find their own talented and charismatic young classical singers (e.g., Gloria Jean, Betty Jaynes, Susanna Foster, Kathryn Grayson, Gloria Warren, Ann Blyth, Jane Powell, etc.) to carve out a piece of the economic gold rush Deanna and her films excited.

 

While several of these talented young ladies rightly went on to notable careers of their own, none excited the enormous popularity and adoration of the original. Durbin WAS a true original, and an innovator, and her legacy deserves a proper tribute.

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