FIRST LOVE

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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Sun 23 Dec 2007 - 4:41



MOVIE INFORMATION:
Universal Studios – 1939
1 Hour, 24 Minutes
Black & White

MAIN CREDITS:
Producer…Joe Pasternak
Director…Henry Koster
Screenplay…Bruce Manning
Music…Charles Previn

MAIN CHARACTERS:
Connie Harding…Deanna Durbin
Ted Drake…Robert Stack
James Clinton…Eugene Pallette
Grace Clinton…Leatrice Joy
Barbara Clinton…Helen Parrish
Walter Clinton…Lewis Howard
Wilma Van Everett…June Storey
Miss Wiggins…Kathleen Howard
George…Charles Coleman

MOVIE SYNOPSIS:
Connie Harding is graduating from school, but she isn’t very happy because both her parents have passed away and she hasn’t got a home to go back to like her classmates. It’s been arranged for Connie to stay with her wealthy uncle, James Clinton and his family. When Connie arrives at the family home, most of the household is preparing to go to a party. Connie’s Cousins, Barbara and Walter and her Aunt Grace only give Connie a hurried welcome. So poor Connie is alone on her first day at her uncle’s home. She refuses to feel sorry for herself and is determined to like everybody regardless of how they behave. She also wins over the servants with her charming personality and wonderful singing. The next day, Barbara is running late for horseback riding with wealthy single guy, Ted Drake. She instructs Connie to stall him so he won’t leave without her. Connie manages to delay his departure, but almost gets hurt in the process. When Barbara finally arrives, she orders Connie to go home immediately. Barbara returns from riding in a bad mood because Wilma Van Everett is also after Ted’s affections. Barbara then announces that Ted has organized a huge ball and that everyone is going (except her father). Connie hasn’t got a decent gown to wear to the ball so she asks the cook to redesign her graduation dress, but the servants secretly buy Connie a Paris creation instead. On the night of the ball at the last minute, Barbara tells her mother that Uncle Jason may pay a visit, so Aunt Grace instructs Connie to stay and greet him which deeply saddens her. The servants want Connie to go to the ball, so they hatch a plan to delay the Clintons arrival at the ball with the help of the local police. Connie is whisked away to the ball where by accidental chance she gets the opportunity to sing. Ted and Connie dance the night away and fall in love, but unknown to Connie it is after midnight. She rushes off, but looses one of her shoes and Barbara spots her before she leaves. Barbara is determined to prove that Connie has gone to the ball without permission. Barbara races after Connie and catches her still wearing her gown. Barbara then deceives Connie into believing that Ted was making fun of her at the ball. Connie then leaves to go back to her school and Barbara fires all the servants. James is outraged at the actions of his family and punishes all of them one by one. When Connie arrives back at school she tells Miss Wiggins of her desire for a scholarship so she can become a music teacher. Miss Wiggins arranges for an audition. While Connie is singing, Ted enters the room and is reunited with Connie to the joy of Miss Wiggins.

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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Tue 5 Feb 2008 - 15:13

After Connie Harding (Deanna Durbin) sings Home, Sweet Home written by Henry Bishop & John Payne, she is comforted by Miss Wiggins (Kathleen Howard) who gives her some strong advice.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Sat 9 Feb 2008 - 9:03

When Connie arrives at the Clinton mansion, she is given an ungracious welcome.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Thu 28 Feb 2008 - 10:13

Connie gives an amazing rendition of Amapola written by Albert Gamse & Joseph LaCalle.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Fri 21 Mar 2008 - 21:57

Ted Drake (Robert Stack) is the eligible young bachelor that every girl desires including dirty faced Connie.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Fri 21 Mar 2008 - 22:16

Thanks to Walter Clinton (Lewis Howard), Connie is invited to the Ball much to the annoyance of Barbara Clinton (Helen Parrish).



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Fri 21 Mar 2008 - 22:24

All the staff help Connie prepare for her big night out.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Mon 31 Mar 2008 - 11:03

Spring In My Heart sung by Connie to a Strauss waltz was specially written by Hans Salter & Ralph Freed for FIRST LOVE.



INTERESTING NOTE: "Spring In My Heart" performed by Deanna Durbin is quilted together from three Strauss waltzes. First comes the principal theme of the "Treasure Waltz" then the principal theme of "Roses From The South" and then finally an obscure late theme in the "Lagoon Waltz." Some versions of the "Lagoon Waltz" omit or do not emphasize that lovely theme. Sheet music for "Spring In My Heart" was published, and Joan Sutherland sang it on one of her recordings.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Thu 17 Apr 2008 - 9:39

Connie and Ted fall in love as they dance the night away.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Thu 17 Apr 2008 - 9:41

At the ball, Connie and Ted kiss for the very first time.  I love you  I love you





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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Thu 17 Apr 2008 - 9:42

Just like in CINDERELLA, Ted finds Connie's slipper.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Thu 17 Apr 2008 - 10:03

Barbara tells Connie a heap of lies about Ted.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Thu 17 Apr 2008 - 10:37

One Fine Day from Puccini's MADAM BUTTERFLY is the final aria Connie sings in FIRST LOVE.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Thu 17 Apr 2008 - 10:40

And they lived happily ever after!! I love you I love you



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Thu 17 Apr 2008 - 16:20

MEMORABLE LINES:

James Clinton (Eugene Pallette) says to Grace Clinton (Leatrice Joy), "But if I ever hear another peep out of you about the sun, the moon, and the stars, I promise you by the big and little dipper, that you'll not only be talking about stars, you'll be seeing them!"



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Thu 17 Apr 2008 - 16:27

Deanna and sister Edith being crafty between the filming of scenes in FIRST LOVE:



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Sun 27 Apr 2008 - 4:41

Deanna Durbin & Robert Stack go for a stroll at Universal Studios:



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Sat 3 May 2008 - 17:06

Gloria Jean visits Deanna Durbin and Robert Stack on the set of FIRST LOVE:



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Tue 6 May 2008 - 21:39

Deanna Durbin with Robert Stack and Vaughn Paul at the premiere of FIRST LOVE:



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Thu 15 May 2008 - 9:51

Deanna Durbin and Robert Stack at Universal Studios during the production of FIRST LOVE:



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Fri 23 May 2008 - 3:44

Some movie mistakes in FIRST LOVE:

The position of Miss Wiggin's arms when she hugs Connie is different from one camera shot to another.

The movement of Connie in front of the mirror when she first arrives at the Clinton house.

After James smacks Barbara with the hair brush, his tie changes position four times before kicking Walter.



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Fri 23 May 2008 - 3:44

Deanna Durbin looking gorgeous in this promotional photo:



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Mon 23 Feb 2009 - 15:01

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF FIRST LOVE OPENING IN HOLLYWOOD:

It was the day before Thanksgiving in Hollywood. The first matinee showing of a new film was about to take place in the huge Pantages Theatre. The lights were out and a voice from behind the screen was relating the latest bits of news from less peaceful parts of the world. Then in glorious contrast to the war news, there fell upon the screen the image of titles.

"Universal Pictures presents Deanna Durbin in FIRST LOVE with Helen Parrish, Robert Stack, Eugene Pallette, and Leatrice Joy."

The audience full of children and grown-ups burst into spontaneous applause. The applause continued throughout the period while the titles were on the screen. As the camera moved in a lovely panorama of the opening graduation scene, the audience breathlessly awaited its first glimpse of Deanna. Then it came.

Radiant, beautiful, Deanna made her presence felt to the last row of the balcony as a great "Ahhh" swept over the audience. Scene followed scene. Deanna sang "Home Sweet Home" for the other girls and for her spellbound audience - then broke into tears as the bitter realization that she had no home of her own surged up from her heart to choke her voice.

A little more than a mile from that screen there sat in profound and pensive silence a girl with eyes of clearest blue and hair the colour of dark honey. Deanna Durbin was pondering and seriously thinking. She was thinking of the audience's reaction to FIRST LOVE in this most critical of all cities where motion pictures are shown. The picture had opened in Washington three weeks previously and had met with great success. It had opened in New York and was greeted by many complimentary reviews by the critics. But this was Hollywood where movies are made and where half of every audience is either in the business of making movies or has someone in the family who is. When Hollywood looks at a picture, it picks it to pieces - and Hollywood can talk! Twenty-four hours after a picture opens, Hollywood's grapevine can catapult a personality to stardom or oblivion.

But Deanna was not afraid of the grapevine. On the desk beside her in confusion lay a pile of letters. They were from people all over the world. She enjoyed reading them because they gave her courage and the feeling that she had true friends. There was the letter from the boy in England. He deplored the fact that blackouts had robbed him of the privilege of seeing Deanna's latest picture. There was the young Jewish boy in Prague who said that his ancestors being non-Aryan prevented him from going to the movies, and that his greatest loss thereby was the sound he loved the best - Deanna's voice. The boy in Berlin who told Deanna her pictures were banned in that city. There were many others. There were letters from Japan, South America - a crippled girl in Ohio, an aged sea captain in Snug Harbour, a blind man in Mexico, there were so many nice letters. Why should Deanna fear the Hollywood grapevine? She smiled as Tippy laid her soft, silken head in her lap.

But the screen of the Pantages was revealing something never before seen by those present. Deanna was being kissed! It was a beautiful scene. It was as unpretentious as the soft sea-mist kissing a tall redwood tree; as calm and lovely as the moon kissing the first winter's snow; as thrilling as your own first love. How was that vital scene received by the audience? Small children clapped their hands - they liked it. A young man made firm his clasp on a girl's hand - they both liked it. One man gently kissed his wife on the cheek - they liked it, too. And old lady sighed delicately. Like it? She loved it! And so did everyone else.

All too soon the picture was over and the curtains were sliding to a close. In a rising crescendo of applause, the theatre audience in that critical town of Hollywood had loudly approved the film. FIRST LOVE was assured of success.

Out in Universal City a telephone rang. The manager of the Pantages called Joe Pasternak who produced FIRST LOVE. When Mr. Pasternak lifted the receiver to his ear, he heard the voice on the other end of the line say, "Congratulations, Joe! You have done it again. Deanna wowed them. The audience loved it!"

Joe Pasternak turned to Henry Koster with whom he had been discussing Deanna's next picture, IT'S A DATE.

"FIRST LOVE is going over big - but wait till they see this one. It's the best piece of script we have had yet!"

A producer has never done his best. His next one will always be better. But, where Deanna is concerned, the next one is always better, even if the last one was perfect.

FIRST LOVE continued to wow them both in Hollywood and downtown in Los Angeles - and in San Francisco, and Chicago, Montreal, and Boston. And it will continue to wow them from Hong Kong to Hoboken.

Congratulations, Deanna! You have indeed done it again!


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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Sun 19 Apr 2009 - 14:37

Deanna Durbin's first onscreen kiss with Robert Stack generated more publicity than the wedding of Elizabeth Taylor to Richard Burton!!

Universal Studio officials worried about the most important kiss in Hollywood history. One faction pointed out that Deanna had earned the studio 10 million dollars without being kissed while the other facton, headed by Joe Pasternak, said that Deanna was growing up and there wasn't much anybody could do about it! She was a 17-year-old girl and becoming more beautiful everyday, so why not romance delicately enter her life on the screen. Henry Koster ordered all doors guarded against outsiders. Deanna was to do her kissing in private. Some reporters asked if they could at least stand behind a palm tree and report the event to the public. The experts said no; a non-crew member on the set might make Deanna nervous and spoil everything. But Bruce Manning came to their rescue. He told them that they could be his assistants for the day. He instructed them to mess up their hair, remove their ties and to put on striped jackets. The reporters disguised themselves and stalked onto the set with Bruce Manning to find Deanna in a beautiful evening gown, on a balcony looking over New York City. A wind machine sent an evening breeze through her curls. Then came the kiss. Deanna gave out a little laugh and Robert Stack flushed a still deeper red. The reporters then tip-toed out to the sunshine as deeply impressed as if they'd just witnessed the signing of the Declaration of Independence.



Deanna's mother (Ada Durbin) assured fans that despite the kiss her daughter had little time for romance: "Often on a Saturday night, Deanna will come home, have supper, take a shower and curl up in bed with a book of poetry."


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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Sun 11 Jul 2010 - 13:18

Deanna Durbin chatting with friends during the production of FIRST LOVE:



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Sun 18 Jul 2010 - 5:45

Robert Stack said the following:

"When I was offered the role of Deanna Durbin's leading man in FIRST LOVE, I lost no time in accepting it. It was the opportunity I was waiting for - a chance to play opposite an excellent actress with a story and production plans that were infallible. My work on this picture, with Deanna, Helen Parrish, Lewis Howard, and countless other young screen actors, was made considerably easier, as I had just completed several roles with a very talented group of young players in the 'Little Theatre.' This being my first picture, it was to my advantage to work again with a young cast, who made me feel completely at ease during my first few days on the set. I was very happy to have appeared with Deanna in my first attempt in pictures; and to me all the praise that I could possibly give her will always seem insufficient. For those of little memory or too young to recall, Deanna was a motion picture phenomenon. Barbra Streisand, Faye Dunaway and Raquel Welch together wouldn't have had the impact she had as America's Sweetheart, that darling girl with the golden voice. Every parent wanted her for a daughter and every young man was sure he was the one to break through that curtain of sweetness and carry her off in his Hudson Terraplane. All America was up in arms over Deanna growing up and having her first screen kiss."



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Sun 5 Sep 2010 - 9:46

Charles Boyer was considered for the role of Ted Drake, but many people felt he was too old to play the part of Connie's first love.

This photo shows Charles Boyer visiting Deanna Durbin and Helen Parrish on the set of FIRST LOVE:



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Sun 20 Jan 2013 - 11:24

A promotional photo for FIRST LOVE:



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Mon 30 Sep 2013 - 11:38

An advertisement for FIRST LOVE with Deanna Durbin in front of her Universal Studios bungalow:



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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Wed 8 Feb 2017 - 11:05

FIRST LOVE pillow souvenir:

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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Wed 8 Feb 2017 - 11:08

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS:
Best Art Direction
Best Music Scoring
Best Cinematography

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FIRST LOVE

Post  English Crusader on Sun 19 Feb 2017 - 10:14

A Motion Picture Daily news item on 20/04/39 noted that Universal was planning to make FIRST LOVE as its first Technicolor feature, but as we all know the movie was ultimately made in black & white.



Original working titles were CINDERELLA & AFTER SCHOOL DAYS.
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