|It Started with Eve|
|Directed by||Henry Koster|
|Produced by||Joe Pasternak|
|Story by||Hanns Kräly|
|Music by||Hans J. Salter|
|Edited by||Bernard W. Burton|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Budget||$1,166,000 or $1,250,000|
It Started with Eve is a 1941 American musical romantic comedy film directed by Henry Koster and starring Deanna Durbin, Robert Cummings, and Charles Laughton.The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Music Score (Charles Previn and Hans J. Salter). The film is considered by some critics to be Durbin's best film, and the last in which she worked with the producer (Joe Pasternak) and director (Henry Koster) that groomed her for stardom. It Started with Eve was remade in 1964 as I'd Rather Be Rich .
The millionaire Jonathan Reynolds is dying, and his son Johnny returns from Mexico City to the deathbed. The attending physician, Dr. Harvey, informs Johnny that his father does not have much time to live and that his last wish is to get to know Johnny's future wife. Johnny drives quickly to his hotel to find his fiancé, Gloria Pennington. But, there, he learns that Gloria has left with her mother. Desperate to fulfill his father's wish, he asks Anne Terry if she can play Gloria for an evening. She agrees and goes with Johnny. She is kind to the dying man and he is pleased with her manner.
To everyone's surprise, the father feels much better than expected the next morning and asks if he can see his son's fiancé once again. Dr. Harvey is still concerned about the health of his patient and asks Johnny to keep pretending that Anne is Gloria. Johnny catches Anne at the train station where she is about to leave for her hometown in Ohio and convinces her to return with him.
He and Anne arrive home, to find that Gloria and her mother have suddenly appeared there. Johnny tries to explain the situation. At the same time, Anne, who is an opera singer, learns of the father's New York opera world contacts. Deciding to take advantage of this opportunity, she suggests giving a party for the elderly Jonathan, to show off her vocal ability. Johnny agrees but wants to introduce his father to his real fiancé, by telling the father that he and Gloria (Anne) are separated and his new girlfriend is the real Gloria. Anne asks him to wait until after the party, but Johnny refuses in order to appease his fiancé and her mother.
The next evening, Johnny informs his father about the separation. At this moment, Anne falls into the rooms and asks for Johnny's forgiveness. Johnny is almost forced by his father to forgive her. When Jonathan leaves the room, he, however, learns the true story through the ensuing loud dispute between Anne and Johnny. Gloria and her mother are now fully satisfied. Again, they see Johnny with Anne, but, this time, Johnny's mouth is covered by lipstick marks. Deciding that enough is enough, the mother and daughter leave yet again.
At last, the day of the party arrives. Jonathan is back in good health, and Johnny attends the party with Gloria and her mother, explaining to his father that Anne has a headache and cannot attend. Jonathan then sets off to see Anne. He tells her that he knows the true story but wants to go out for a farewell dinner between old friends. They go to a nightclub where they drink and dance together. Jonathan secretly sends word to Johnny to come to the club. When Johnny and Dr. Harvey arrive, Johnny accuses Anne of endangering his father's life. Anne flings Johnny's drink in his face and leaves the club.
The next day, Johnny catches Anne once again at the station to tell her that his father has had another heart attack and wants to see her. They rush to the mansion only to find that Jonathan is fine—it was his doctor who collapsed. Jonathan just took advantage of the mixup to bring the young couple back together. Johnny and Anne recognize their true feelings for each other, a fact that Jonathan takes with pleasure. He leans back, smiles with enjoyment, and smokes a forbidden cigar.
The film was originally known as Almost an Angel. Joe Pasternak announced he would make Almost an Angel in 1938 as a vehicle for Danielle Darrieux. Ralph Bock and Frederick Kohner wrote a script.Then in 1939 Franciscka Gaal was announced as star.
The film was eventually never made - the title was transferred to another project by Pasternak in December 1940 which would become It Started with Eve. Henry Koster was directed and L Fodor and Norman Krasna wrote the script.
In February 1941 Charles Laughton signed on.The following month Deanna Durbin agreed to co-star; plans to put her in Ready to Romance with Charles Boyer were abandoned.
Filming started 27 May 1941, just after Durbin returned from honeymoon for her first marriage.
Pasternak announced during filming that he would be leaving Universal after 16 years.He later wrote about it in her memoirs:
I called her into my office and told her why it had to be and why I was leaving. It was the only time in our years together I saw her weep. "You can't," she said. "You can't do this to me." But I had my personal reasons, and they did not all concern her and I said I must. It was not easy to talk to her because a lot of water had flowed under the bridge. She had her life to live now and it could not be the same as before. She said some nice things and ran out of the office.
In October 1941 Koster said this was the toughest film he had ever worked on. He had an argument with Norman Krasna which resulted in Krasna quitting the film with 40 pages still to be written. Richard Carle died after working in the picture for three weeks. He was in every scene and they all had to be shot again with Walter Catlett in the role. Then Durbin became ill for four weeks; they shot around her for five days then had to stop production. When she came back Laughton fell ill and there was another delay. An electrician fell from a scaffolding on the set and broke a leg and another was burned. Pasternak signed to go to MGM and Koster was getting divorced.
Koster later said he thought Durbin looked at her most beautiful in this film because of Rudolph Mate's photography.
Filming did not finish until September. Cummings had to go work on King's Row during the shoot.
In his review in The New York Times, Bosley Crowther called the film "light and unpretentious fare" and "should please—as they say—both young and old. It's the perfect '8-to-80' picture."Crowther singled out the performances of Charles Laughton, who plays cupid, and Deanna Durbin. Crowther wrote:
Henry Koster, who directed the picture and has directed most of Miss Durbin's better films, certainly knew how to get the best out of Mr. Laughton, that man of great renown. For this is one of the sharpest performances the old boy has given in years ... Mr. Laughton plays with flavor, mischief, humor and great inventiveness. He knows how an old man would behave—and he never carries it too far. Under a perfect make-up, you'd hardly know it was Mr. Laughton—which is saying a lot.
Regarding Durbin's performance, Crowther wrote, "Miss Durbin is as refreshing and pretty as she has ever been and sings three assorted songs—including a Tchaikovsky waltz—with lively charm."
Durbin later said the film "was handed to Charles Laughton. He was marvellous in the picture and the fact that we remained very close friends even though we were both aware of "Eve" being a Laughton not a Durbin film, shows how fond we were of each other."
One Hundred Men and a Girl is a 1937 American musical comedy film directed by Henry Koster and starring Deanna Durbin and the maestro Leopold Stokowski. Written by Charles Kenyon, Bruce Manning, and James Mulhauser from a story by Hanns Kräly, the film is about the daughter of a struggling musician who forms a symphony orchestra consisting of his unemployed friends. Through persistence, charm, and a few misunderstandings, they are able to get famed conductor Leopold Stokowski to lead them in a concert, which leads to a radio contract. One Hundred Men and a Girl was the first of two motion pictures featuring Leopold Stokowski, and is also one of the films for which Durbin is best remembered as an actress and a singer.
Bachelor Mother (1939) is an American romantic comedy film directed by Garson Kanin, and starring Ginger Rogers, David Niven, and Charles Coburn. The screenplay was written by Norman Krasna based on an Academy Award-nominated story by Felix Jackson written for the 1935 Austrian-Hungarian film Little Mother. With a plot full of mistaken identities, Bachelor Mother is a light-hearted treatment of the otherwise serious issues of child abandonment.
Henry Koster was a German-born film director. He was the husband of actress Peggy Moran.
Edna Mae Durbin, known professionally as Deanna Durbin, was a Canadian-born actress and singer, who later settled in France. She appeared in musical films in the 1930s and 1940s. With the technical skill and vocal range of a legitimate lyric soprano, she performed many styles from popular standards to operatic arias.
Phantom of the Opera is a 1943 American horror film directed by Arthur Lubin, loosely based on Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and its 1925 film adaptation starring Lon Chaney. Produced and distributed by Universal Pictures, the film stars Nelson Eddy, Susanna Foster and Claude Rains, and was composed by Edward Ward.
Charles Clarence Robert Orville Cummings was an American film and television actor known mainly for his roles in comedy films such as The Devil and Miss Jones (1941) and Princess O'Rourke (1943), but who was also effective in dramatic films, especially two of Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers, Saboteur (1942) and Dial M for Murder (1954). He received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations, and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Single Performance in 1955. On February 8, 1960, he received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the motion picture and television industries, at 6816 Hollywood Boulevard and 1718 Vine Street.
Joseph Herman Pasternak was a Hungarian-born American film producer in Hollywood. Pasternak spent the Hollywood "Golden Age" of musicals at MGM Studios, producing many successful musicals with female singing stars like Deanna Durbin, Kathryn Grayson and Jane Powell, as well as swimmer/bathing beauty Esther Williams' films. He produced Judy Garland's final MGM film, Summer Stock, which was released in 1950, and some of Gene Kelly’s early breakthrough roles. Pasternak worked in the film industry for 45 years, from the later silent era until shortly past the end of the classical Hollywood cinema in the early 1960s.
Christmas Holiday is a 1944 film noir crime film directed by Robert Siodmak starring Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly. Based on the 1939 novel of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham, the film is about a woman who marries a Southern aristocrat who inherited his family's streak of violence and instability and soon drags the woman into a life of misery. After he is arrested, the woman runs away from her husband's family, changes her name, and finds work as a singer in a New Orleans dive. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Musical Score for Hans J. Salter.
Can't Help Singing is a 1944 American musical Western film directed by Frank Ryan and starring Deanna Durbin, Robert Paige, and Akim Tamiroff. Based on a story by John D. Klorer and Leo Townsend, the film is about a senator's daughter who follows her boyfriend West in the days of the California gold rush. Durbin's only Technicolor film, Can't Help Singing was produced by Felix Jackson and scored by Jerome Kern with lyrics by E. Y. Harburg.
Gloria Jean was an American actress and singer who starred or co-starred in 26 feature films from 1939 to 1959, and made numerous radio, television, stage, and nightclub appearances. She is probably best remembered today for her appearance with W.C. Fields in the film Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941).
Three Smart Girls Grow Up is a 1939 American musical comedy film directed by Henry Koster, written by Felix Jackson and Bruce Manning, and starring Deanna Durbin, Nan Grey, and Helen Parrish. Durbin and Grey reprise their roles from Three Smart Girls, and Parrish replaces Barbara Read in the role of the middle sister. Durbin would reprise her role once more in Hers to Hold.
Mad About Music is a 1938 American musical film directed by Norman Taurog and starring Deanna Durbin, Herbert Marshall, and Gail Patrick. Based on a story by Marcella Burke and Frederick Kohner, the film is about a girl at an exclusive boarding school who invents an exciting father. When her schoolmates doubt his existence, she has to produce him. Mad About Music received Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Music, and Best Original Story.
I'll Be Yours is a 1947 American musical comedy film directed by William A. Seiter and starring Deanna Durbin. Based on the play A jó tündér by Ferenc Molnár, the film is about a small-town girl who tells a fib to a wealthy businessman, which then creates complications. The play had earlier been adapted for the 1935 film The Good Fairy by Preston Sturges.
First Love is a 1939 American musical film directed by Henry Koster and starring Deanna Durbin. Based on the fairy tale Cinderella, the film is about an orphan who is sent to live with her wealthy aunt and uncle after graduating from boarding school. Her life is made difficult by her snobby cousin who arranges that she stay home while the rest of the family attends a major social ball. With the help of her uncle, she makes it to the ball, where she meets and falls in love with her cousin's boyfriend. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Music.
Spring Parade is a 1940 American musical comedy film directed by Henry Koster and starring Deanna Durbin. It is a remake of the 1934 film.
Between Us Girls is a 1942 American drama film directed by Henry Koster and starring Diana Barrymore, Kay Francis, Robert Cummings, John Boles, Andy Devine, and Scotty Beckett.
The Amazing Mrs. Holliday is a 1943 American comedy drama film produced and directed by Bruce Manning and starring Deanna Durbin, Edmond O'Brien, and Barry Fitzgerald.
For the Love of Mary is a 1948 American romantic comedy film directed by Frederick de Cordova and starring Deanna Durbin, Edmond O'Brien, Don Taylor, and Jeffrey Lynn. Written by Oscar Brodney, the film is about a young woman who takes a job at the White House as a switchboard operator and soon receives help with her love life from Supreme Court justices and the President of the United States. For the Love of Mary was the last film by Deanna Durbin, who withdrew from the entertainment business the following year to live a private life in France.
Felix Jackson was a German-born American screenwriter and film producer.
Because of Him is a 1946 American romantic comedy film starring Deanna Durbin, Charles Laughton and Franchot Tone.