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I'll Be Yours

I'll Be Yours(1947)

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teaser I'll Be Yours (1947)

Still only in her mid-20s, Deanna Durbin was beginning to see the writing on the wall for her motion picture career. In the 1930s, like fellow child star Shirley Temple, she had dolls, clothing and a wide range of other merchandise based on her look and innocent appeal, and she was affectionately parodied in cartoons. A company once named a "dream home" it developed in her honor. Her first screen kiss made national headlines. She counted among her admirers British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Holocaust victim Anne Frank and Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Although by the time she made this picture she was the highest paid female star in the business, she was not satisfied.

By the late 1940s, either the quality of her pictures had dropped steeply or the public was growing weary of her wholesome image, despite efforts to tweak it toward more sophistication with productions like the film noir Christmas Holiday (1944) and the thriller Lady on a Train (1945). One thing was certain - Deanna Durbin was tired of the roles she was getting and even more of life in the spotlight. I'll Be Yours was the first of her last four pictures, all of which she described in a rare 1983 interview as "terrible." After her final film, For the Love of Mary (1948), she kissed it all goodbye walking away from Hollywood forever at only 27 years old. "I couldn't go on forever being Little Miss Fixit who burst into song," she reportedly said later.

I'll Be Yours had a long history. The original 1930 stage version of the story, A j tndr , was written by Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnr, whose works were the basis of a number of hit Broadway and Hollywood productions, among them films starring Lunt and Fontanne (The Guardsman, 1931), Joan Crawford (The Bride Wore Red, 1937) and Grace Kelly (The Swan, 1956) and the musical Carousel (1956). The play was translated into English as The Good Fairy by Jane Hinton and premiered on Broadway in 1931 starring Helen Hayes. William Wyler filmed it under that title in 1935 with his soon-to-be wife Margaret Sullavan. Durbin herself performed in a radio version in 1944. It must have seemed like a good idea to turn it into a comedy with music for her, even though, as reviewers pointed out, this version removed the fantasy elements Molnr had written in. The New York Times called it "at best just a pleasant diversion," while conceding what Durbin's fans today still find to be true, "her vast and appealing girlish charm."

The screenplay was adapted by German-born Felix Jackson, who was Oscar-nominated for Bachelor Mother (1941), and wrote Destry Rides Again (1939) along with the Margaret Sullavan-Charles Boyer version of Back Street (1941). Jackson was Durbin's husband at the time and father of Durbin's first child. He also produced this movie, as he had six other Durbin vehicles, and he wrote three other screenplays for her.

William Seiter had already directed Durbin in It's a Date (1940) and Nice Girl? (1941) and would direct her penultimate picture Up in Central Park (1948).

I'll Be Yours was in production from August to October 1946, with some background footage shot on location in New York. It was released the following February with the tagline, "Heaven protects the working girl, but who protects the guy she's working to get?"

Director: William Seiter
Producer: Felix Jackson>br>Screenplay: Felix Jackson, based on the screenplay The Good Fairy by Preston Sturges, based on the play by Jane Hinton, adapted and translated from a play by Ferenc Molnr
Cinematography: Hal Mohr
Editing: Otto Ludwig
Art Direction: John B. Goodman
Music: Frank Skinner
Cast: Deanna Durbin (Louise Ginglebusher), Tom Drake (George Prescott), William Bendix (Wechsberg), Adolphe Menjou (J. Conrad Nelson), Franklin Pangborn (Barber)

By Rob Nixon

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