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It Started With Eve


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In spite of myself, and its unnatural premise, I found myself wanting to like this movie. It has quite a bit that is clever and enjoyable, with little of the annoying noise and overplayed dialog of comedies in this vein. The uncomfortable element of it is that it seems Laughton and Durbin form a more natural pair, rather than her and Cummings, and your unconscious inclination is to want to see them get together. Cummings is no slouch, but he can't stand up to Laughton. Cummings and Durbin had a spark near the middle of the movie with their fight scene, which they brought off well, but it wasn't developed from there, thus their eventual joining at the end of the movie feels forced.

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Great, glad you both enjoyed it. I especially was happy with the

wonderful tribute Robert Osborne gave Deanna, He said every single

thing I hoped he would, he nailed it exactly word for word what I had

hoped he would say.


He said wonderful things about her before movie started as well as

after the movie. In case anybody missed it, he covered everything, from

being more successful and popular than Judy Garland, that Louie B Mayer

wanted to keep Deanna and let Judy go, but that a clerical error/ mix

up took place, this is documented in every book ever written about the



Not bashing poor Judy, but Robert said everything with exception of

what Louie B Mayor actually said (he is to kind) but what he actually

said was "let the fat one go" its in all the books ever written, and

Elwy Yost on TV Ontario and PBS always said it, We have a big Hollywood

book that you gave mom, it has the quote in it as well.


Robert went on to say that She single handily saved Universal Pictures

from bankruptcy, another common reported fact


He also talked about her comedic timing that was always mentioned by

her producers, I played his comments over a number of times, it made my

day, and he nailed everything perfect, so I could not have been happier.


She was the highest paid actress in Hollywood when she retired, Robert

said in the World, so I guess the highest paid actress in Hollywood is

generally also in the world, he said this before and after the film, so

he is a fan for sure.


I heard Robert talk about Deanna before she died, they showed 2 of her

films last year prior to her death, he spoke of the "Magic" of Deanna

Durbin, the same term used by Elwy Yost and so many others, OK so she

shares it with Flutie, that`s OK.


I actually wrote a letter to TCM in care of Robert Osborne, a lot of

people did I suspect, I sent mine via snail mail , marked it



Was not taking credit for the tribute he gave her, but at the beginning

of the film he started with what sounded to me like an apology that a

film tribute had not been given to her properly because of other

commitments and scheduling etc .


I had taken part in the TCM forum were her career was discussed right

after her death, and multiple people waited for the film tribute we

assumed would be in days, so they heard from lots of people I am very



A number of people said that TCM had a rocky relationship with

Universal and getting rights to her films was a documented thing


Also I don't really think that Robert O is the program director


But in my letter to Robert, I was polite, just said that TCM was very

special to me but afraid it has lost some of its shine to me since not

giving Deanna Durbin the tribute she deserved.


They did immediately after her death do a tribute with clips of a few

of her films, in memoriam, so its not like they did nothing, but what

Robert said last night has put some of the shine back on, was thrilled,

and I did mention Neil Young to Robert so I covered that also


Last thing, Charles Laughton made another film with Deanna you should

see at some point, its called " BECAUSE OF HIM"


Great comedy, Deanna is working as a waitress in a Hollywood restaurant

that the famous folks visit. She desperately wants to get Charles

Laughton's autograph, he is a big star, but really we find out what she

is after is his signature. After many attempts she finally gets it, he

thinks he just gave his autograph, but instead he really signed a

letter of introduction stating that she was his new personal discovery,

she wants to be an actress, and the letter helps her get her foot in



Very funny, with the usual great cast of butlers etc.


Robert Cummings also made 3 films with Deanna



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>Also I don't really think that Robert O is the program director




Robert O is the evening host and, in many ways, the heart and face of TCM (at least to the fans and staffers).


While Robert O recommends movies for the schedules and each month hosts *Bob's Picks* (movies personally selected by him), Robert O is not the director of programming.


According to interviews and articles, the Programming staff enjoys a good work relationship with him (and he with them) but Robert O does not select the films or themes each month.


He has often said he has enough on his plate as it is.

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The title is "It Started With Eve" . (minor point, but no one else is catching it either). I believe the emphasis is intended to be on Laughton and his attraction to Deanna's character, and then his meddling to see that his son ends up with the right girl. Bob Cummings (who often gets unfairly treated as a lightweight actor) plays his part well (how he had so much trouble chasing the girl around the piano I'll never know). But Laughton still carries the movie, as one would expect. I always respect Laughton for giving his costars their moment and not "hamming" it up all of the time. He plays the "sickly old man" very convincingly , but shows his stuff on the dance floor. I haven't seen this film in a long time but now I remember why I liked it so much. Deanna Durbin was only 20 years old in this film but she plays with a lot of maturity here. She definitely had some acting talent.

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Another minor point but in actuality, Deanna Durbin was only 19 when she made this film. It was shot during the summer of 1941 and her 20th birthday was not until December of 1941, right around the time the picture opened to great success.

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Reading a little bio info about Deanna Durbin. Apparently she was only 19 when she got married (around the time she made this film). That marriage didn't work out, she married again, number two didn't work either. She got married a third time , and not even 30 years old. And she quit the movie business for good. Not good news for her many fans but for her the third marriage lasted and she lived a life that made her happy. So I say, good for her. Hopefully she had some good memories of her film career, maybe some lasting friendships, etc. And the film work that she did do made a lot of people happy, and still makes some people happy today.


Edited by: mrroberts on Dec 31, 2013 4:20 PM

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I have commented on this before and feel the need to do it again. W.C. Fields saved Universal from bankruptcy. The banks were calling in the loans, and because he had left Paramount and decided to sign with Universal, the banks had restored faith in the studio and extended the loans. Around the same time Deanna Durbin was signed and she became an unexpected hit. Fields' films for Universal were all hits and made just as much money as Durbin's did. I would even venture to guess that the picture Fields did with Mae West probably outperformed most of Durbin's hits. Fields' health declined and his output was curtailed and Durbin went on to become the reigning superstar at the studio, at least through the first half of the 40s until Yvonne de Carlo burst on to the scene.


Anyway, the point is that Fields was the big name in 1938, the guaranteed box office winner with a proven track record that the bank executives felt comforted by, not an unknown teen. Fields rescued Universal and Deanna Durbin shot to the top, helping to secure Universal's sudden good fortunes during an unsteady time. Others like Abbott & Costello, Basil Rathbone (as Sherlock Holmes), Olsen & Johnson, the Andrews Sisters, Donald O'Connor and Gloria Jean also pitched in, with loyal followings and hit after hit of their own. Deanna Durbin did not single-handedly keep Universal from being eaten by the big bad wolf. We need to put this into the correct financial and historical perspective.


It started with W.C. Fields.

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It's not meant to answer questions. It is meant to present an alternate view to those who think that a teenager single-handedly saved a studio. This is like saying Tom Cruise kept Paramount in business in the 90s and 2000s. While these were big box office performers, no one star makes or breaks a studio. The Lina LaMont character in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN pokes fun at such an idea. What we have here are Durbin's fans who are not satisfied with saying her films performed well and that she was adored by the public for many years-- they have to exaggerate her worth to the point that it dwarfs the actual films. I have never heard of such a thing with any other star before or since.

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As long as you are interested in setting the record straight. let's set this fact straight. Fields' did not simply leave Paramount as a career move, he was forced to leave because he was a drunk and a source of trouble to the studio. Because of his addiction to booze he was idle until he began his radio career where he enjoyed a resurgence of popularity. It was those radio broadcasts that led to his UNIVERSAL career, As for the film he did with Mae West I think it is the accepted opinion that she was the star of that film. The film he made with Charlie McCarthy, well the dummy stole that show. By 1941 he was a bloated, fat, drunk, whose time had passed, and so did he soon from cirrhosis of the liver.

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It seems the most logical explanation in all of this is that a number of factors all played a part in Universal's return to prosperity. Like the team scoring the winning touchdown, one guy carried the ball while other players made key blocks , the end result was by a team effort. So maybe W C made the first important move in that effort and Durbin and others followed through. One question comes to my mind; how did Universal's financial situation change so dramatically in such a short period of time so that they could pay Deanna Durbin the highest female salary in the 40's? I wonder how the other top female stars, who worked for bigger studios, felt about that?

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>how did Universal's financial situation change so dramatically in such a short period of time so that they could pay Deanna Durbin the highest female salary in the 40's?


Was this widely known, or publicized? May it have been part of a marketing scheme to enhance her films' profitability. If her films were so wildly popular, paying her what they did may have been small in comparison to what they made.

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