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  • The fact that credibility is strained to the limits is not unusual in most of the Deanna Durbin films of this period. "Because of Him" is no exception--with a charming performance by Deanna and an excessively hammy one (intentionally so) by Charles Laughton. Both prove they have a way with comedy--as does Franchot Tone as a playwright who does not want Durbin to star in his new show. While the thin plot hinges on whether or not Deanna is successful in seeking the patronage of famous actor (Laughton) and starring in the theater, there is an air of mirth in the proceedings with just the right light touch to keep the story spinning to a happy ending.

    Deanna, as usual, is in fine voice and gives a lovely rendition of "Danny Boy" and tosses off an operatic aria under most unusual circumstances. Her voice is showcased here and so is her comic timing. Easy to see why she was such a popular favorite in the '40s.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In 1941 Charles Laughton appeared in a nice little comedy, IT STARTED WITH EVE, about a multi-millionaire who (on his deathbed) is introduced by his son to the girl the son will marry. But the son (Bob Cummings) can't produce his real fiancé, so he hires Deanna Durbin to appear as a substitute. He figures his father won't survive the night, so why not do him a last favor to make his passing more comfortable. The problem in that comedy was Laughton recovers, and his doctor (Walter Catlett) insists that the substitution continue until Laughton regains his physical strength.

    IT STARTED WITH EVE was a good successful comedy. Five years later, Laughton and Durbin (but not Cummings and Catlett) joined together again in BECAUSE OF HIM. Laughton is John Sheridan, a prominent stage star, who meets Durbin. Or rather she intrudes into his life - this film is like an early version of ALL ABOUT EVE, except that Durbin does not have a vicious selfish streak like Anne Baxter had. Laughton and playwright Franchot Tone slowly develop Durbin's talent, so that she ends up starring opposite Laughton in Tone's latest play. But she is also aware that she is increasingly attracted to Tone, and Laughton is increasingly attracted to her.

    Oddly enough it is not a bad triangle. Laughton does not force Durbin to become his lover, nor does he play on her guilt feelings. He seeks to win her by his affectionate nature and honest feelings. This leads to at least one funny moment. After a rehearsal, the night before the play is to open, Laughton starts talking about E.H.Southern and Julia Marlowe, one of the finest husband and wife Shakespearean teams of the 19th Century. Durbin realizing what this type of talk may lead to starts talking rapidly about nonentity married couples (with made up names like Hinckley and Schwabs or whatever) who never recovered their acting skills after they got married. Laughton, of course has never heard of these made up stage teams, so he does not know how to respond to this barrage of "facts". Durbin is very happy to get out of the conversation with such relative ease.

    It is not as well known as their first film, but BECAUSE OF HIM is a good movie. It was also the last time Laughton and Durbin ever appeared together. It was good that this time they were able to play a more intimate relationship than the father-in-law/daughter-in-law they played in IT STARTED WITH EVE. And the resolution of the story actually showed a sense of maturity that is to be respected as well.
  • Deanna Durbin has perhaps the most beautiful singing voice in the history of this planet. I never leave reviews but had to say something upon reading the review of the ignoramus who spoke of her singing in--to put it politely--disparaging terms. To you, sir, madam, or whatever else you could possibly be, do the human race a favor and please resign from it. That act alone would probably bring peace and sanity to a world sadly in need of it.

    There's a reason she alone saved Universal Studios from bankruptcy. Because 60 years ago, people actually had ears, eyes, and brains. God save us all.
  • "The film is only let down by Durban's (sic) terrible singing." . . . Now that's a good one! Deanna Durbin was catapulted to national prominence in her first appearance on the Eddie Cantor radio hour - at the age of 14 - as a singer. That program elicited 4,000 letters of praise, and off she took like a rocket. Her films were enormously popular, and she sang in every one. She changed the course of operatic singing and single-handedly inspired a whole new generation of opera singers. The list of her professional musical admirers is as long as your arm and includes Lily Pons, Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland, who said,"I wish I knew how she did it." Rostropovich, the great Russian cellist, said he was inspired to capture with his cello the same purity and clarity that he found in Durbin's singing. Mel Torme said Durbin was "phenomenal." He said she could sing anything you put in front of her and do it to perfection. I am rarely able to endure operatic singing, but Durbin is so good at everything, I'd rush to listen to her call hogs if given the chance.
  • As a previous reviewer remarked regarding this fine film obviously has no knowledge of what a legend Deanna Durbin is with her singing voice she literally saved Universal studios from bankruptcy with her very first film at about the age of 14. With that first film Three Smart Girls she went on to have a very successful career till the age of about 27 when she retired and now lives happily in seclusion in France. Because of Him is the story of an ambitious waitress who dreams of being on the stage and with a little trickery on her side achieves her dream with the starring role of her first play much to the chagrin of the plays writer who thinks she is totally wrong for the part, but as with most of her films it comes right at the end.
  • Deanna is such a sweet, old fashioned woman, she was about 23 in "Because of him". Deanna was 13 in her first appearance with Judy Garland in the short "Every Sunday" 1936, and that came out 10 years prior to "Because I know him" 1946. Deanna blossomed into a beautiful young woman in her 1940s films such as this one. And her voice is wonderful again here singing her lovely opera songs especially the tear-jerker "Danny boy".

    The golden age had some beautiful operatic singing women, Janette McDonald in the 1930s and early 1940s, and Kathryn Grayson and Deanna Durban in the 1940s. All angels

    Deanna had a deep admiration for John and wanted to star in his show so badly that she folded a letter that she typed herself about being invited to star in John's show, and asked him for his autograph with him only seeing the side of the paper without the letter showing. Since Deanna was waitressing and John was a customer at the restaurant she waitressed at, she was able to pull it off with John not discovering until later what she'd done. John did take it better than many characters of his sort in these types of films would take it. Generally, he took it well enough to remain calm and sympathetic towards Deanna and to keep her scheming move quiet and between only the two of them. But he didn't take it well enough to actually grant her wish to star in his show, and bluntly advised her to go back to her home town. Then Deanna, well at least her friends and family, did not keep the next plot point quiet. They publicised in the newspaper that she attempted suicide due to John's rejecting her for his show.

    John's reaction to that, like with the autograph/letter scheme, was lighter than one would've expected, and he then really developed a soft spot for her innocence and determination. After that came Deanna's beautiful "Danny boy", and Deanna and John were not the only ones without dry eyes. I have a sentimental side to Golden age music, it's simply got a sweetness and charm to it that no modern music can match. Deanna Durban, Kathryn Grayson, Janette McDonald, Judy Garland, Nelson Eddie, Allen Jones, Dick Powell's singing, Ginger Rogers, Jean Harlow, Ruby Keeler, Clark Gable, Gene Kelly, Cary Grant's acting and charm, along with many others' singing, acting, sweetness, and charm have all helped to have made the pre-mid-1950s age a wonderful place
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Because Of Him casts Deanna Durbin as the most winsome young ingénue seen on screen since Katharine Hepburn in Morning Glory. Durbin is determined to succeed on the stage and is willing to use some extralegal contrivances to get there. But as this film is light she's not as ruthless as Eve Harrington.

    What she does do is pretend to be an autograph seeker and seeks out famous stage actor Charles Laughton's autograph on a folded piece of paper which opened up is a letter of introduction to a famous producer. It costs her a job at the restaurant she works at as Charles Halton her boss fires her. But it does work and Laughton is intrigued by her even with her deception.

    Also intrigued is playwright Franchot Tone who has a role similar to that of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in Morning Glory. Therein lies the triangle, but I don't think anyone expected Laughton to get Durbin.

    In fact the final scene of the play within a movie is Laughton's best as he changes Tone's dialog and the play itself to get the two of them together.

    Durbin has three songs and why she wasn't after a musical career is beyond me. Still fans of Laughton, Durbin, and Tone will like this.
  • AAdaSC21 January 2012
    Deanna Durban (Miss Walker) tricks her way into starring in playwright Franchot Tone's (Paul Taylor) new play opposite famous actor Charles Laughton (John Sheridan). She has no acting experience, but while Laughton encourages her, Tone is keen to see her fail and removes his name from the performance's credits.

    This film is a comedy that has several amusing moments, eg, Laughton's treatment of his butler Donald Meek (Martin), and his scene with Durban when he teaches her how to fake a faint properly. Charles Laughton is the powerhouse of the film with an over-the-top performance that works. The film is only let down by Durban's terrible singing of "Danny Boy". She has 3 songs, which she delivers in that high-pitched, operatic, warbly voice - two of them are okay but "Danny Boy" - just shut up Durban! The song is already crap and your rendition of it is really painful to endure. The film loses momentum at this point.

    Anyway, the singing of "Danny Boy" provides an important stage in the plot as, after Durban has tortured us with this flop of a song, Laughton becomes sympathetic to her wishes and decides to help her. God knows why. The fact that she can sing is not an indication that she can act. So he behaves out of character and his sudden confidence in her makes no sense.

    The film is essentially a romance that doesn't really convince but it is entertaining viewing. Whilst the songs in this film are not needed, the film is lightweight fluff that doesn't make a lot of sense but it has some funny moments and the cast all perform well.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Charles Laughton plays John Sheridan, a legendary Broadway actor who is playing his final performance of "Cyrano De Bergerac". Desperate for a vacation, he eludes inquiries about who his next leading lady will be. But a waitress named Kim Walker (Deanna Durbin) already has her eye set on Sheridan, and fools him into getting his signature (which he thinks is an autograph) on a letter of introduction. Soon it is believed that middle-aged Sheridan and young Ms. Walker are an item, and when Sheridan finds out about the scheme, he pretends to get along with it, only so he can get out of it gracefully. But Kim's pal Nora (the always delightful Helen Broderick) has a trick up her sleeve to keep Kim's name in the papers linked to Sheridan. Soon, Kim is cast as his new leading lady, finding a disgruntled playwright, Paul Taylor (Franchot Tone), out to sabotage her.

    For one thing, the storyline seems totally forced. Today, Durbin's Kim Walker would be considered a celebrity stalker and social climber, but here, she's a media darling. Other than a pretty version of "Danny Boy", Durbin's few songs are rather forgettable, and she really doesn't seem like someone who might be the new Jessica Tandy of Broadway. The play within the movie also seems rather corny, and the forced romance between Durbin and Tone is false as well. As with "Nice Girl?", they seem totally wrong for each other, he a bit long in the tooth for her, and she too immature for someone of his sophistication. Donald Meek adds some funny moments as Laughton's valet, but for the most part, the supporting cast (not including Broderick) can't rise above the material. What really lowers my rating for this film is the really unbelievable ending that is out of place even in the golden age of Hollywood.