Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tonight's Movie: That Certain Age (1938)

Deanna Durbin was 16 when she filmed THAT CERTAIN AGE, a film about a teenage make-believe romance which helped form a bridge from Deanna's child actress roles to slightly more mature parts. Two films later, in FIRST LOVE (1939), she received her first onscreen kiss, from Robert Stack.

In THAT CERTAIN AGE, Deanna plays Alice, who develops a serious crush on her parents' houseguest (Melvyn Douglas), a reporter. Deanna's preoccupation with the older man dismays her boyfriend (Jackie Cooper) and her parents (Irene Rich and John Halliday). This being a Deanna Durbin film, all's well that ends well!

This is one of Deanna's weaker vehicles; it's pleasant entertainment, but the plot grows just a wee bit tiresome. Most of her movies which I've seen to date have better stories and scripts. However, like all of her films, THAT CERTAIN AGE has sterling production values -- Alice lives in a veritable castle! -- and an excellent supporting cast.

Irene Rich, who looks rather like Irene Dunne, is charming as Alice's mother. Nancy Carroll pops in for just a couple of scenes, but she makes the most of her big moment.

Peggy Stewart has a small role as Mary Lee, who covets Alice's acting role and boyfriend. Juanita Quigley is cute as Cooper's little sister, and Charles Coleman plays -- what else? -- a butler. Grant Mitchell, Claire Du Brey, Russell Hicks, Bess Flowers, Lon McCallister, and Moroni Olsen are also in the cast.

THAT CERTAIN AGE was directed by Edward Ludwig. It runs 95 minutes. The film was Oscar nominated for Best Song ("My Own") and Best Sound Recording.

This film has been released in a nice print on VHS; the tape includes the trailer.

It was also recently released as part of the Deanna Durbin Movies and Romance Collection sold exclusively through Turner Classic Movies and Movies Unlimited.

Deanna Durbin films previously reviewed here at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: FIRST LOVE (1939), HIS BUTLER'S SISTER (1943), NICE GIRL? (1941), FOR THE LOVE OF MARY (1948), BECAUSE OF HIM (1946), MAD ABOUT MUSIC (1938), THE AMAZING MRS. HOLLIDAY (1943), THREE SMART GIRLS (1936), THREE SMART GIRLS GROW UP (1939), IT STARTED WITH EVE (1941), CAN'T HELP SINGING (1944), HERS TO HOLD (1943), IT'S A DATE (1940), and LADY ON A TRAIN (1945).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

THAT CERTAIN AGE is one of my favourite Durbin vehicles. Deanna is in fine voice as she performs a number of entertaining songs for all music tastes. Deanna also shows her first signs of growing from a girl into a woman making this film the right choice for her age.

3:08 AM  

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