24 March 2006 | bkoganbing
Passing The Soprano Torch
In a recognition of the fact that she was no longer a young soprano, Jeanette MacDonald in her final two films played a mom. And as the title Three Daring Daughters suggests she's the mom of three girls, one of whom is Jane Powell, a soprano of some note.
Jeanette is a working mom, an editor of a magazine, who apparently doubles as a concert singer. She's been told, doctor Harry Davenport's orders to go on a much needed vacation. She takes a cruise and marries world famous concert pianist Jose Iturbi who is playing himself. Now to break it to the children.
This is where the story goes astray. Her former husband who is never seen in the film is a foreign correspondent and we're told that Jeanette has told the children some great big fibs about what a wonderful man he was. Of course if he was so wonderful why were they divorced? The kids assume the reason for her listlessness before the vacation was that she was pining for dad. It's like the writers of Three Daring Daughters could not come up with a rationale that would satisfy the Code.
Yet the film is good fun, it's nice seeing Jeanette and Jane trading high notes as it were. It's as if Jeanette was passing the soprano torch on to another generation, not just to Jane Powell, but to Ann Blyth and Kathryn Grayson for future MGM musicals.
Jose Iturbi could not have done a better job just being Jose Iturbi. I remember meeting him as a kid years ago and getting an autograph from him. Even then I thought he was a class act. Of course he never took as a leading man at MGM, but I think Mr. Iturbi was a musician first and foremost. And he certainly was a sight better leading man than Liberace.
If you can get over the tiptoeing of writer's feet around the Code, you'll like Three Daring Daughters.