First Love (1939)

HENRY KOSTER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

USA, 1939.  .  Screenplay by , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Henry Koster, Joe Pasternak.  Music by , , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1939.

Cute modern-day version of Cinderella, with the lovely  as an orphaned high-school graduate who goes to live with her rich uncle and aunt in Manhattan. The couple have been her benefactors while she’s been growing up at her boarding school in the country, but now that she lives with them she finds herself being made a servant by her scatterbrained aunt, lazy cousin Walter and evil cousin Barbara. When she meets handsome tycoon Robert Stack she immediately falls in love with him, not for his money the way all the other girls in town are after him, but for his–well, it’s hard to say what really, since Stack’s character is about as deep as corrugated cardboard. Still, it’s hard to resist the trappings: Durbin goes to the ball despite Barbara’s interference, all because she’s kind to the servants and they love her too much to not help her out. Featuring a few musical numbers, Durbin’s trademark Anglicization of classical music using her exceptionally trained operatic voice, this is one of her lesser efforts but still very enjoyable (particularly for the demographic it’s aimed at, mainly teenage girls who can’t think).

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