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

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Deanna Durbin and some spectacular scenery
CAN'T HELP SINGING (1944). Director: Frank Ryan.

When Caroline (Deanna Durbin),  a senator's daughter, learns that he disapproves of the man she loves and hopes to marry -- the opportunistic Lt. Robert Latham (David Bruce) -- she runs off into the wild west after him. Along the way she runs into some colorful characters, as well as a new romantic interest in the form of Lawlor (Robert Paige). Can't Help Singing has some pleasant tunes by composer Jerome Kern (especially the title tune), and Durbin and Paige [Fired Wife] make a very good team. Durbin, whose voice seemed to get even better as she got older, also became a bit double-chinned and puffy, but was still attractive. The handsome production boasts beautiful photography [Elwood Bredell and W. Howard Greene], and some good performances from the leads, along with Ray Collins [Hideout] as Durbin's father; Akim  Tamiroff (out west!) and Olin Howlin/Howland as two likable scoundrels; Bruce as the lieutenant; and Jay Novello [Atlantis, the Lost Continent] as a "sucker."

Verdict: One of the better Deanna Durbin musicals. ***.


angelman66 said...

Never even heard of this one, though I like Jerome Kern. Looks like a beautiful production, though. Not a great fan of Durbin, but she did have a lovely singing voice.

William said...

No, Durbin has never really quite grown on me, either, although I agree that her voice is wonderful.