Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
USA, 1944. Universal Pictures. Story by John D. Klorer, Leo Townsend, Screenplay by Lewis R. Foster, Frank Ryan, based on the novel Girl Of The Overland Trail by Samuel J. Warshawsky, Curtis B. Warshawsky. Cinematography by Elwood Bredell, W. Howard Greene. Produced by Felix Jackson. Music by Hans J. Salter. Production Design by Robert Clatworthy, John B. Goodman. Costume Design by Walter Plunkett. Film Editing by Ted J. Kent.
Deanna Durbin‘s only film in Technicolour, this was one of Hollywood’s responses to the success of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma on the Broadway stage (MGM would make The Harvey Girls a couple of years later).
Durbin plays a Civil War-era senator’s daughter who is in love with an officer of whom her parents do not approve. Ignoring them, she hitches a ride west for California and, along the way, comes under the helpful accompaniment of roguish Robert Paige.
Naturally, the time they spend together makes her wonder if she really likes the brass buttons on the officer’s uniform so much anymore. A trifle of a story, with a tiresome attempt at humour in between the lovey stuff, and not nearly as enjoyable as the smart, modern musicals that Durbin was so popular for.
It’s saved quite a bit by the eye-popping cinematography, however, and the gorgeous score by Jerome Kern, which sounds its best with Durbin’s lovely delivery of “More And More”.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Scoring of a Musical Picture; Best Song (“More And More”)