Monday, January 7, 2013

Three Smart Girls (1936)

WHO: Deanna Durbin. Yes I also mentioned her last week.

WHAT: Three Smart Girls, Durbin's debut film for Universal Pictures, was a huge hit and made an instant star out of the then-fifteen-year-old soprano when it was released just before Christmas 1936. Story goes, it also single-handedly saved the struggling studio from bankruptcy.

WHERE/WHEN: At 5:55 PM and 9:10 PM at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto, which first screened the film in March of 1937.

WHY: It's the final day of the Stanford's Deanna Durbin Festival which has presented all her features in double-bills over the past five weeks. Since she made an odd number of features, the Stanford has chosen to pair her final film For The Love of Mary with this one, ending the festival where it began. And if Three Smart Girls really saved Universal from bankruptcy in late 1936, just imagine some of the films that might not have been made had the studio folded: 1939's Tower of London starring Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff and a very young Vincent Price, 1947's A Double Life featuring Ronald Colman as a cracking-up Shakespearean actor, or the melodrama masterpieces of the great Douglas Sirk, such as Written on the Wind and Imitation of Life. All of these films and more have just been announced as part of the Stanford's continuing Universal Pictures centennial spotlight in January. Here is the full schedule.

HOW: 35mm.


  1. The Stanford is showing a somewhat worn re-release copy of Three Smart Girls, from Real-Art, but the
    picture (which I first saw way back around 1965 on TV!) simply dazzles with the kind of charm that made some of us first fall in love with classic Hollywood.
    The co-feature, For The Love Of Mary, is a dud.
    If you or any other local readers are venturing to Palo Alto before February 10th, an exciting 13 minute installation, of music related footage, by Christian Marclay (The Clock) is on until then at the nearby Cantor Museum.
    SF Moma owns so perhaps it's been
    there?Unfortunately the Cantor is
    closed today (Mondays and Tuesdays)

  2. Thanks for the tip. Sounds like something very worth doing if I make it down in the next month. I'm very much looking forward to The Clock's appearance at SFMOMA.