Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title in elaborate cursive writing
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.

harrisonsreports21harr_0215Screenplay 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.

Mystery guest slouching in chair. He's wearing a florid dressing gown. And oh the upholstery on that chair.
For Monday, we have a mysterious fellow who is relaxing.

Update: This is tragic Lewis Howard.

A rather astonished mystery guest!
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!

Man in topcoat tips his derby.
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mysterious fellow.

Update: This is Charles Coleman.

Frowny woman in pince nez glasses does not approve of such goings-on

We also have this mystery woman. She is the epitome of disapproving of such goings-on.

Update: This is Kathleen Howard.

Elegantly dressed lady, with necklace and satiny gown.
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).

Woman with dark hair in maid's uniform. She is making a funny face.
For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mystery woman.

Update: This is Mary Treen.

Police officer in cap and uniform. He is talking to Back of the Head Woman
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.

Large man in double-breasted suit. He is frowning and has his hands on his hips.
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).

Young woman in bed with nightgown. Her long hair is blocking her left eye.
For Friday, we have this mystery woman.

Update: This is Helen Parrish.

Young man in tuxedo, with a butonniere.
And this mysterious fellow.

Update: This is Robert Stack.

Young woman with hair down to her shoulders and a curl in the middle of her forehead.
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).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1939, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Lewis Howard in FIRST LOVE (1940).


  2. mike hawks says:

    Lewis Howard in FIRST LOVE 1939.


  3. Sylvia E. says:

    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.


  4. LC says:

    Lewis Howard in Song of My Heart (1948)


  5. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Jack Mulhall.


  6. mike hawks says:

    Jack Mulhall.


  7. Sheila says:

    Jack Mulhall for Tuesday?


  8. Sylvia E. says:

    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.


  9. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Charles Coleman; Kathleen Howard; Grace Hayle.


  10. mike hawks says:

    Charles Coleman, Kathleen Howard and Grace Hayle.


  11. Sheila says:

    Lewis Howard, Charles Coleman, Kathleen Howard in ‘First Love’?


  12. Sylvia E. says:

    Back to Wednesday and the third image
    I think it’s Dorothy Hayle, but not sure.


  13. Sylvia E. says:

    Sorry – Grace Hayle


  14. Floyd Thursby says:

    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.”


  15. Mary Mallory says:

    Finally! FIRST LOVE. Lewis Howard Monday, Bert Stevens Tuesday, Charles Coleman, Kathleen Howard, Doris Lloyd Wednesday, Mary Treen, Frank Jenks, and Euguene Pallette today.


  16. Jenny M says:

    Movie is First Love with Mary Treen, Frank Jenks and Eugene Pallette.


  17. Thom and Megan says:

    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.


  18. Mary Treen; Frank Jenks; Eugene Pallette.


  19. mike hawks says:

    Mary Treen, Frank Jenks and Eugene Pallette.


  20. B.J. Merholz says:

    It’s already the fourth day, but from the first day on I did not love this puzzle.


  21. Greg says:

    Frank Jenks as the police officer and Eugene Pallette as the porky fellow on Thursday.


  22. Sylvia E. says:

    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.


  23. Mary Mallory says:

    Helen Parrish, Robert STack, and Deanna Durbin.


  24. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Helen Parrish; Robert Stack; Deanna Durbin.


  25. FunkyPhD says:

    Aha Thursday: Mary Treen, Frank Jenks, and Eugene Pallette. Friday: Helen Parrish, Robert Stack, and Deanna Durbin. Movie: First Love


  26. Greg says:

    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.


  27. mike hawks says:

    Helen Parrish, Robert Stack and Deanna Durbin.


  28. Gary says:

    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?


  29. Sylvia E. says:

    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.


Leave a Reply. Note: Your IP is logged with your comment so a fake name and email address are useless.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s