25 November 2012 | csteidler
Strong work from Deanna Durbin and Jackie Cooper
Deanna Durbin is excellent as bright and talented rich girl Alice Fullerton. She and her pal Ken (Jackie Cooper) put on musical plays in the guest house of her parents' estate. Alice's newspaper mogul father invites journalist Vincent Bullitt (Melvyn Douglas) to stay and work in said guest house—and Alice is quickly distracted from her friends by the romantic and dashing Mr. Bullitt.
Jackie Cooper gives a superior performance as the best friend who loves Alice and has to watch her chase after the older, successful and glamorous man of the world. Melvyn Douglas is good as Vincent Bullitt but his character is slightly bland, at least for someone who's supposed to be such an adventurer.
The plot is okay if not especially surprising; it's a sympathetic look at young love that tries to represent the viewpoints of both the kids involved and the parents and other grownups around them. It doesn't entirely work—this is one of those pictures where all the adults are so darn wise and well-meaning it's just kind of irritating. The kids—Durbin, Cooper, even little Juanita Quigley as the pesty little sister—come across as much more genuine.
Deanna sings a few songs—a couple of operatic numbers that are fine as well as a handful of new songs that are pleasant but no classics. Durbin's acting performance, however, is superb—she is totally convincing, as is Jackie Cooper, himself an old pro at age 16. Durbin and Cooper certainly leave the grown up actors in the dust.
Definitely worthwhile for fans of these young stars.
Research question: Did everybody really know Morse code in the 1930s, or was it just kids in the movies?