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Deanna Durbin, Hollywood Holiday Heartthrob, Sings "Silent Night"


Lady on a Train, the source of the preceding clip, was produced by Felix Jackson, who became Durbin’s second husband. At the time, Durbin, contracted with Universal, was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. When their marriage ended in divorce in 1949, she turned down two Bing Crosby films and moved to Paris. There, in 1950, she married Charles David, Lady on a Train‘s director, and retired from films entirely.

She’s alive today, a reclusive and retired movie star for more than 60 years. Although many of her films are rare and none are regarded as major classics today, they do include some relevant titles, such as Christmas Holiday, with Gene Kelly, and the partly-Renoir-directed The Amazing Mrs. Holiday. Her songs and performances will not be forgotten.

That preposterously beautiful “Silent Night” sequence (with closeups like those, who needs a wide shot?) did receive the following humorous nod in an otherwise unkind review by Time Magazine:

Lolling on a bed, she sings “Silent Night” to her father by long-distance telephone, while the camera treats her the way John Gilbert used to treat Garbo, in a manner that must be seen to be believed. For fanciers of the strange and terrible, Miss Durbin’s quietly orgiastic salute to the Nativity is a must.

It’s Thanksgiving, so thanks to YouTube channel ViolinThief for this video and accompanying quote, and the Where Danger Lives blog for the following image.

1 comment… add one

  • Alex Anisimow December 10, 2010, 1:45 PM

    Deanna Durbin is just the best actress and singer that has ever come out of Hollywood!!

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