Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


O'Connor, Durbin and Dall
SOMETHING IN THE WIND (1947). Director: Irving Pichel.

When Donald Read (John Dall of Rope) discovers that his late grandfather was making payments to a certain "Mary Collins," he mistakenly assumes that the lady in question is a pretty young radio singer (Deanna Durbin) and that she was grandpop's mistress. Actually the Mary Collins who received the checks for all those years was the singer's aunt, who had been dumped by the society-conscious old man many years before; the whole check business is more or less innocent. Young Mary is virtually kidnapped by the Read family and brought to their mansion, where she decides to torment them by not revealing the truth. Even though Donald has a fiancee, Clarissa (Helena Carter), he is drawn to Mary even as his brother, Charlie (Donald O'Connor) wants Clarissa for himself. Further muddying the waters is larcenous Uncle Chester (Charles Winninger), who hopes to exploit the situation for his own benefit. Something in the Wind is amiable enough, with Dall and Durbin making a better romantic pairing than expected; the trouble with the movie is that it isn't really that funny, and while Durbin is competent, she isn't exactly a skilled comedienne. Her singing is lovely, however, and she even manages to acquit herself admirably doing a duet from Verdi's Il trovatore with tenor Jan Peerce (who plays a singing cop and is quite good as well as in fine voice). Margaret Wycherly adds a touch of class as the grandmother who wants to size up her late husband's cutie. O'Connor is as adept and exuberant as ever, but his novelty song numbers are not that amusing. Helena Carter later appeared in such films as Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye with Cagney and in the sci fi not-so-classic Invaders from Mars.

Verdict: Mostly for Durbin fans but not bad. **1/2.

No comments: