This week’s mystery movie was the 1939 Universal picture First Love, with Deanna Durbin, Robert Stack, Eugene Pallette, Helen Parrish, Lewis Howard, Leatrice Joy, June Storey, Frank Jenks, Charles Coleman, Mary Treen and Kathleen Howard.
Screenplay by Bruce Manning and Lionel Hauser.
Photography by Joseph Valentine.
Art direction by Jack Otterson and Martin Obzina.
Edited by Bernard W. burton.
Set decorations by R.A. Gausman.
Gowns by Vera West.
Assistant director Frank Shaw.
Musical direction by Charles Previn.
Vocal instructor Andrew de Segurola.
Spring in My Heart from Johann Strauss Waltzes.
Adaptation by H.J. Salter.
Lyrics by Ralph Freed.
Orchestrations by Frank Skinner.
Sound supervisor Bernard B. Brown.
Technician Joseph Lapis.
Produced by Joe Pasternak.
Directed by Henry Koster.
First Love is available on DVD from Amazon.
Further information on First Love is available from the AFI Catalog.
I picked First Love because it’s a bit obscure and has never aired on TCM. As several people noted, it was a challenge, but one of my goals is to draw attention to lesser-known films that received strong reviews at the time. One publicity campaign focused on Durbin’s first on-screen kiss, provided by Robert Stack.
The story is a simple one: a slight updating of Cinderella featuring Deanna Durbin as a plucky, upbeat orphan, singing her way into our hearts, overcoming ill treatment from an array of mean, wealthy people to run off with “Prince Charming” (Stack) in the last scene. Cue the “happy ending” music by Charles Previn.
I’m going to guess that Bosley Crowther did not approve of such goings-on.
What a discovery! Bosley Crowther in the Frank S. Nugent era, when he was just one of the alphabet critics! (Nov. 9, 1939):
A teary and sweetly girly-girly restatement of the not exactly unfamiliar Cinderella legend, complete, even down to the classic item of the lost slipper, First Love, at the Rivoli, affords the usual pleasant scope for the talents, graces and charming accomplishments of Miss Deanna Durbin, the Watteau shepherdess of Universal Pictures. Not quite the scope, perhaps, afforded by Mad About Music and 100 Men and a Girl, but certainly enough to gratify and delight the Durbin devotees, which is to say practically everybody capable of appreciating any form of entertainment above the esthetic level of a six-day bicycle race.
For Monday, we have a mysterious fellow who is relaxing.
Update: This is tragic Lewis Howard.
For “Tricky Tuesday,” we have this mysterious fellow at the wheel.
Update: This is Jack Mulhall.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and Monday’s mysterious lounge lizard), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Monday’s mysterious lounge lizard) and L.C. (Monday’s mysterious lounge lizard).
Note to Sylvia E.: You noticed. Good!
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mysterious fellow.
Update: This is Charles Coleman.
We also have this mystery woman. She is the epitome of disapproving of such goings-on.
Update: This is Kathleen Howard.
And this mystery woman.
Update: This is Grace Hayle.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Tuesday’s mysterious chauffeur), Mike Hawks (Tuesday’s mysterious chauffeur) and Sheila (Tuesday’s mysterious chauffeur).
For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mystery woman.
Update: This is Mary Treen.
We also have this mystery police officer. He (and you will be astonished to learn this) does not approve of such goings-on. Also Back of the Head Woman.
Update: This is Frank Jenks and Helen Parrish as Back of the Head Woman.
And finally, we have this somewhat mysterious fellow. He most certainly does not approve of such goings-on. Shocking, I know.
Update: This is Eugene Pallette.
Brain Trust roll call: Sylvia E. (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery guests), Sheila (mystery movie and Monday’s and Wednesday’s mystery fellows and Wednesday’s mystery woman No. 2).
For Friday, we have this mystery woman.
Update: This is Helen Parrish.
And this mysterious fellow.
Update: This is Robert Stack.
Finally, our leading lady!
Update: This is Deanna Durbin.
Brain Trust roll call: Floyd Thursby (mystery movie and all mystery men), Mary Mallory (mystery movie and Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Jenny M. (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests), Thom and Megan (mystery movie and Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests) and Greg (Thursday’s mystery fellows).
Lewis Howard in FIRST LOVE (1940).
Lewis Howard in FIRST LOVE 1939.
That is quite a splendiferous piano behind our Monday guy. Our relaxed guy looks like he might be from the classical concert world.
Once again no guess yet.
Lewis Howard in Song of My Heart (1948)
Jack Mulhall for Tuesday?
Thanks to Kathleen Howard and finding a similar image to this one on ebay I can guess
“First Love” 1939.
Monday – Lewis Howard in what seems to be his favorite pose in this movie. Found a version where he’s in a suit and not a robe – same pose. Eugene Pallette is off screen left in this one.
Tuesday – I think is Jack Mulhall
Wednesday – Kathleen Howard/
Charles Coleman (I think).
I’m not sure about the last lady.
Charles Coleman; Kathleen Howard; Grace Hayle.
Charles Coleman, Kathleen Howard and Grace Hayle.
Lewis Howard, Charles Coleman, Kathleen Howard in ‘First Love’?
Back to Wednesday and the third image
I think it’s Dorothy Hayle, but not sure.
Sorry – Grace Hayle
I thought it looked like a Deanna Durbin picture. For Monday we have Lewis Howard; for Tuesday, Charles Coleman doing one of his many butler roles; for Thursday Frank Jenks and Eugene Pallette. The movie is “First Love.”
Finally! FIRST LOVE. Lewis Howard Monday, Bert Stevens Tuesday, Charles Coleman, Kathleen Howard, Doris Lloyd Wednesday, Mary Treen, Frank Jenks, and Euguene Pallette today.
Movie is First Love with Mary Treen, Frank Jenks and Eugene Pallette.
This week’s movie is “First Love” with Lewis Howard on Monday and Eric Wilton on Tuesday. For Wednesday we have Charles Coleman, Julia Griffith and Grace Hayle. Thursday’s actors are Mary Treen, Frank Jenks and Eugene Pallette.
Mary Treen; Frank Jenks; Eugene Pallette.
Mary Treen, Frank Jenks and Eugene Pallette.
It’s already the fourth day, but from the first day on I did not love this puzzle.
Helen Parrish; Robert Stack, Deanna Durbin.
Frank Jenks as the police officer and Eugene Pallette as the porky fellow on Thursday.
Mary Treen, Frank Jenks, Eugene Pallette
Helen Parrish, a very young Robert Stack, Deanna Durbin
A lot of people from Canada in this film. Maybe there’s always a lot of people from Canada in American movies and I didn’t notice because I just never spent as much time reading up on the cast members’ backgrounds.
Helen Parrish, Robert STack, and Deanna Durbin.
Helen Parrish; Robert Stack; Deanna Durbin.
Aha Thursday: Mary Treen, Frank Jenks, and Eugene Pallette. Friday: Helen Parrish, Robert Stack, and Deanna Durbin. Movie: First Love
The mystery movie is obvious now, but wow, this was a tough one. A movie title error on one of the databases didn’t help. Keep them coming and I’ll keep losing sleep.
Helen Parrish, Robert Stack and Deanna Durbin.
First Love. I have never seen a DD flik.Curious. R Stack had an early career as the boyfriend of many young starlets…DD Jane Powell, Liz Taylor….who else?
I forgot to guess the BOTHW in front of Frank Jenks on Thursday.
The puffy shoulders and hat make me think it’s Helen Parrish, but it could be Ms Durbin…. let’s go with Parrish.