Aug 6, 2021
In this Studios Year by Year episode, we witness the changing of the guard at Universal in 1936, in which James Whale's Show Boat brings down the Laemmle Era, and Deanna Durbin's first feature, Three Smart Girls, ushers in the Bankers Era. We find good things to say about both, but we're not gonna lie, most of the episode is devoted to Edna Ferber/Kern and Hammerstein/Whale's Show Boat and its combination of quiet radicalism, family melodrama, and musical entertainment. Musical entertainment is just about the only link between the two films. Dave and Elise marvel at 14-year-old Durbin's terrifying energy and confidence, and Elise is very happy to see 29-year-old Ray Milland, even if he probably shouldn't be quite so happy to see 18-year-old Barbara Read.
0h 01m 00s: SHOW BOAT [dir. James Whale]
0h 55m 15s: THREE SMART GIRLS [dir. Henry Koster]
Studio Film Capsules provided by The Universal Story by Clive Hirschhorn
* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s
* Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)
* Read Elise’s latest film piece on Preston Sturges, Unfaithfully Yours, and the Narrative role of comedic scapegoating.
* Check out Dave’s new Robert Benchley blog – an attempt to annotate and reflect upon as many of the master humorist’s 2000+ pieces as he can locate – Benchley Data: A Wayward Annotation Project!
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