Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Deanna Durbin, 1921-2013

I'm deeply saddened to learn this evening of the passing of the great Deanna Durbin, one of my all-time favorite movie stars.

My 2010 birthday tribute to Deanna Durbin includes links to film reviews of 18 of her 21 feature films; each review contains information on DVD and VHS availability.

My thoughts on Deanna's very original screen persona, as shared in that tribute: "Over the years there were several other wonderful sopranos who starred in movie musicals, but there was something completely unique about Deanna Durbin's screen presence. Her more mature characters radiate an unusual kind of calm, forthright honesty and serenity, and at the same time she was a wonderful comedienne. Deanna also had a knack for taking characters who might otherwise be perceived as willful or bratty and making the audience love them, simply on the strength of being...Deanna."

Deanna Durbin was truly one of the great ladies of the silver screen, and while I am terribly sad to learn of her passing, I am also incredibly grateful for the legacy she leaves behind. Deanna's films will be loved and enjoyed for as long as movies exist.


Blogger la peregrina said...

Ahh, that is sad news. Another person I connect with my mother gone.

7:20 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Very sad. At least we have the wonderful legacy of all her movies and recordings.

RIP Deanna. Thank you for many years of superlative entertainment you bestowed upon us.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Blake Lucas said...

Well said, Laura.

I adore Deanna in her movies and always will. She was so special.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Vienna said...

Such sad news. A lovely tribute,Laura and I shall read your reviews soon.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I very much appreciate each of my fellow Deanna Durbin fans taking the time to post your thoughts. I am so sad that she is no longer with us, but grateful for all that this very special woman created for us to enjoy. She was truly one of a kind.

Best wishes,

12:40 AM  
Blogger grandoldmovies said...

Thanks for sharing - beautifully expressed. Durbin was lovely and unique; although she chose to cut short her career (and it no doubt was a good decision), I think we're all grateful that she left so many films for us to enjoy.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Stephen Reginald said...

Nice tribute. You know Durbin is one of my favorites. I could watch "It Started With Eve" everyday.

3:27 PM  
Blogger LĂȘ said...

I was very sad, too. Actually, I've never watched a feature film with Deanna, only the 1936 short Every Sunday, but I've heard her singing and it was impressive.
When I come to watch one of her films, I'll be thinking about you!

6:28 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm so glad to see the comments from so many Durbin fans here. Thank you all!

IT STARTED WITH EVE is in my Durbin Top 5, Stephen! Le, I hope you get to see more of her films soon, they're really wonderful.

Best wishes,

11:13 AM  
Blogger Jim Lane said...

I too was saddened by Deanna's passing, of course, but I have to say, a glittering career beloved by the world, followed by 65 years of contented retirement, a blissful marriage and a loving family is...well, we should all have such a sad end.

When Le comes to search out some of Deanna's features, I'm with you: It Started with Eve is a great place to begin. Three Smart Girls, too, for its showcase introduction of Universal's new star. Lady on a Train for the grown-up Deanna at her best, showing that she had by no means outgrown her talent.

And I have a special place in my heart for First Love, where (as one commenter somewhere noted) "Deanna's first screen kiss" got more publicity than all of Elizabeth Taylor's marriages. I'll never forget my reaction to the first time I saw it: In the early scenes, when Deanna is the dowdy drudge of her school, I was actually thinking Oh dear, poor Deanna, you are not aging gracefully. Then when she blossomed in time for the big dance, I shook my head in amazement: Why you little dickens. You were acting all the time!

Congratulations on a moving tribute, Laura. I hope when you have a chance (Shameless Self-Plug Alert!) you'll drop by and check out my own tribute over at Cinedrome.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Jim, thanks so much for sharing that link, I greatly enjoyed it, as well as your comments here.

IT STARTED WITH EVE, LADY ON A TRAIN, and FIRST LOVE are all in my top half-dozen Durbin favorites, along with HIS BUTLER'S SISTER, THE AMAZING MRS. HOLLIDAY, and CAN'T HELP SINGING (maybe not a great movie, yet Deanna singing gloriously in Technicolor is an absolute treat).

Thanks so much for paying tribute to this remarkable entertainer!

Best wishes,

11:52 PM  

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