Because of Him (1946)

Because of Him (1946), directed by Richard Wallace.

Deanna Durbin was a superstar of the 1930s and 40s, but until the multi-disc "Sweetheart Pack" appeared a few years ago I had never seen a single one of her pictures. Where had the wholesome and spunky operatic soprano been all my life? Now we have a new set of discs from the TCM Vault series.

The best of the previous collection was It Started with Eve (1941), a great screwball comedy with Charles Laughton. Here they are paired again, with Franchot Tone instead of Robert Cummings as the romantic interest. A waitress wants to break into theater at the top despite having no experience. She uses various levers and strategems on ham actor Charles Laughton, but playwright Tone is less than enthusiastic.

It's not as good as the earlier film. The first part runs smoothly and is fine according to the standards of the genre but goes off the rails at the 2/3 point (when she actually gets the job) and the movie never recovers. Tone is too sour to be a romantic lead and there is no sign of attraction between them anyway.

Durbin gives a knockout performance of "O Danny Boy". Laughton seems to relish playing the ham actor.

She wanted more serious roles, but the studio wasn't much interested and it wasn't what her fans wanted. She quit the movies at age 27. The wikipedia bio has many appreciations.

Miklós Rózsa score.