NOTE: FOR THE LOVE OF MARY may not be one of Deanna Durbin's best-known films, but I rank it among my top six or seven favorite Durbin movies. It's simply a delightful feel-good romantic comedy with a marvelous cast, including Edmond O'Brien, Deanna's costar from another favorite, THE AMAZING MRS. HOLLIDAY (1943). Since I first reviewed the movie on VHS nearly four years ago, it's come out on DVD in a lovely print which I enjoyed this evening. Below is my review from October 2008, augmented with additional images.
FOR THE LOVE OF MARY is a delightful romantic comedy which finds Deanna Durbin starring in the title role as Mary Peppertree, a White House switchboard operator.
Mary has recently left her job at the Supreme Court switchboard and jilted her fiance, Philip (Jeffrey Lynn of the FOUR DAUGHTERS series), prompting several Supreme Court justices to attempt to play matchmaker and reunite Mary and Philip.
Meanwhile, the never-seen President takes an interest in Mary after speaking to her on the phone, and he fixes her up with a dashing Naval aide, Tom (Edmond O'Brien). Complicating matters yet further is David (Don Taylor), a scientist who repeatedly calls the switchboard in his quest to speak directly to the President.
It's grand fun, with a most entertaining setting and premise. The excellent supporting cast includes Harry Davenport as a Supreme Court justice, Griff Barnett as Mary's father, Katharine Alexander as Mary's White House supervisor, and Ray Collins as the President's secretary.
Durbin and O'Brien had previously been teamed in THE AMAZING MRS. HOLLIDAY, along with Harry Davenport. Deanna looks lovely in costumes by Orry-Kelly, and of course she sings several songs along with juggling her suitors. She always had such a pleasing screen personality; as I've gotten to know her work over the past year, not one of her movies has let me down.
It's rather sad that FOR THE LOVE OF MARY was Deanna's last film. She retired from the screen at the age of 27, ultimately moving to France, where she still lives. She'll be 87 this December.
Jeanine Basinger's superb book THE STAR MACHINE has an excellent chapter on Deanna Durbin.
FOR THE LOVE OF MARY was directed by Frederick De Cordova. It was shot in black and white and runs 90 minutes.
This movie is available on VHS. The video includes 8 minutes of an alternate ending at the end of the tape.
Previous reviews of Deanna Durbin movies: FIRST LOVE (1939), HIS BUTLER'S SISTER (1943), and NICE GIRL? (1941).
Update: FOR THE LOVE OF MARY is now available on DVD.