Butlersguild

WONDERFUL BLACK AND WHITE FILM

This endearing film from director Frank Borzage is filled with the warmth and charm of its star, Deanna Durbin. An original screenplay fashioned for Deanna by Samuel Hoffenstein and Beth Reinhardt and a glossy production from Universal really make this one of Deanna's best films. A great cast which includes Franchot Tone, Pat O'Brien, Akim Tamiroff and Elsa Janssen lend sparkling support to Deanna's joyous performance as Ann Carter.

Ann is on her way from Indiana to New York by train to live with her rich half-brother while she tries to become a broadway musical star. She wants to sing for composer Charles Gerard (Franchot Tone) and just misses her chance when she finds out he is on her train. When her half-brother Martin (Pat O'Brien) turns out to be only a butler, her hopes sink low until she discovers he is the butler in the swanky New York penthouse of you know who!

Martin plays the ponies more than he works but since his main job is keeping away girls who want to sing for Charles Gerard, he has his hands full. It gets even more complicated when Gerard mistakes Ann for the new maid and she is right under Gerard's nose and Martin's feet! Elsa Janssen is wonderful as the housekeeper Severena, who takes a shine to the sweet Ann. She isn't the only one, however, taken with Ann's smile and effervescence.

Some very funny moments are given birth from Ann's effect on every butler in the building. They are all enamored of her and do everything they can to compete for her affections. Akim Tamiroff is foremost of these as Martin's Russian pal Popoff. Ann of course, begins to fall for her boss Gerard who is about to dump his latest work and run off to Maine with his society girlfriend Elizabeth Campbell (Evelyn Ankers).

She finally gets to sing but in an only in the movies mix-up Charles thinks it was the radio. When they do get together she forgets all about the music and the two fall in love. But her brother feels threatened and also thinks Gerard might just be fooling around. This causes Charles to make plans for Maine again, but true love may make him stay.

Tone is excellent as the wealthy but down to earth Gerard and Deanna simply glows in fashions by Adrian. A walk home holding hands and a kiss goodnight are filled with romance and magic, as is this film. There are, of course, some wonderful musical interludes, including "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's "Turnadot" and the beautiful "In the Spirit of the Moment."

This sweet fable of "the day before yesterday" as it calls itself is a must for Deanna's fans and a fine film in its own right. A real gem from the last rose of summer, Deanna Durbin.