In the run-up to Christmas, the Picture of the Week feature will be searching around for appropriate images. Since we’re not too close to Christmas just yet, I’ll allow myself a pretty tenuous link this time around and celebrate the 88th birthday of Deanna Durbin today, 4th December. It’s more than sixty years since she appeared onscreen, after retiring at 26 to live in Paris with her husband. After appearing alongside Judy Garland in the short Every Sunday (1936), she made her feature debut in Three Smart Girls later the same year; it would be followed by two sequels, and made her a world-famous star of musical comedies.
So what’s it got to with Christmas? Er … well, one of her later films was Robert Siodmak’s noir thriller, Christmas Holiday. The attempt to diversify her star persona was not paying off, though, and she grew increasingly dissatisfied with the limited roles offered to her. She has avoided public appearances and given only one interview (in 1983) since her retirement, but Spectacular Attractions wishes her well today, and will be re-watching this film in her honour:
And how’s this for a (non-Christmassy) poignant bit of trivia – Anne Frank pinned up a portrait of Durbin on the wall of the house in which her family hid from the Nazis … and it’s still there.