Can’t Help Singing (1944)

FRANK RYAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

USA, 1944.  Universal Pictures.  Story by , , Screenplay by , Frank Ryan, based on the novel Girl Of The Overland Trail by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

‘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 . 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”)

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