First Love

Overview

Best remembered as the film in which 17-year-old Deanna Durbin receives her first screen kiss, First Love is a modernized variation of the Cinderella legend (there's even "six white mice" in the form of a sextet of motorcycle policemen!). The film casts Durbin as Constance Harding, the poor relation of wealthy tycoon James Clinton (Eugene Pallette). When she comes to live with the Clinton family, she runs headfirst into her eccentric, social-climbing aunt Grace (Leatrice Joy) and her nasty, nightclub-hopping ...
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Overview

Best remembered as the film in which 17-year-old Deanna Durbin receives her first screen kiss, First Love is a modernized variation of the Cinderella legend (there's even "six white mice" in the form of a sextet of motorcycle policemen!). The film casts Durbin as Constance Harding, the poor relation of wealthy tycoon James Clinton (Eugene Pallette). When she comes to live with the Clinton family, she runs headfirst into her eccentric, social-climbing aunt Grace (Leatrice Joy) and her nasty, nightclub-hopping cousin Barbara (Helen Parrish); James himself rather likes the girl, but most his attention is directed towards dealing with his monumentally lazy son Walter (Lewis Howard in a comic turn). Left behind on the night of a fancy society ball, Constance is championed by the household servants, who provide her with a gorgeous gown and transportation to the event. She meets her Prince Charming in the form of likeable socialite Ted Drake (Robert Stack in his film debut)- but, just after the stroke of midnight, leaves her slipper behind. Later that night, the hateful Barbara convinces Constance that Ted was only toying with her emotions. Sorrowfully, Constance decides to return to school and bury herself in her studies, only to be dissuaded by her head teacher (Kathleen Howard), who made the same mistake herself many years before. Naturally there's a happy ending, with time to spare for Durbin to sing five numbers, including the Puccini-inspired aria "One Fine Day."
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
First Love is the film in which child star Deanna Durbin grows up -- and she handles the transition smoothly. Although there's still plenty of energy to her performance, the singer is more subdued than in her previous films, in which her abundant energy sometimes threatened to make the reels fly right off the movie projector. Durbin by this time was learning that less could be more, and it's the most mature of her performances to this date. Vocally, she's in excellent form, sailing through the likes of "Spring in My Heart" and "Home, Sweet Home" with ease, and making the absolute most of the challenging "One Fine Day" sequence that ends the film. Universal, wanting to protect its most valuable asset, surrounded her with a lovely production, which includes some ace camerawork from Joseph A. Valentine. The script is also very strong for a Durbin vehicle, cleverly adhering to the "Cinderella" plot while adding its own little twists and punches. Henry Koster has directed smoothly, keeping his star attraction center stage but allowing the able supporting cast -- especially the excellent Eugene Pallette -- with opportunities to shine on their own. First Love is certainly lightweight - too much so to be a classic - but it's sweet, entertaining and heartfelt.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/27/1996
  • UPC: 096898144537
  • Original Release: 1939
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Deanna Durbin Constance Harding
Robert Stack Ted Drake
Eugene Pallette James Clinton
Helen Parrish Barbara Clinton
Lewis Howard Walter Clinton
Leatrice Joy Grace Clinton
June Storey Wilma van Everett
Frank Jenks Mike
Kathleen Howard Miss Wiggins
Thurston Hall Mr. Drake
Marcia Mae Jones Maria Parker
Samuel S. Hinds Mr. parker
Doris Lloyd Mrs. Parker
Charles Coleman George
Jack Mulhall Chauffeur
Mary Treen Barbara's Maid
Dorothy Vaughan Mrs. Clinton's Maid
Lucille Ward Cook
Lon McCallister
Technical Credits
Henry Koster Director, Producer
Bernard W. Burton Editor
Lionel Houser Screenwriter
Bruce Manning Screenwriter
Martin Obzina Production Designer
Jack Otterson Art Director
Joe Pasternak Producer
Charles Previn Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Hans Salter Score Composer
Frank Skinner Score Composer
Joseph A. Valentine Cinematographer
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