THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY

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THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY

Post  Devotee #1 on 23rd December 2007, 06:46



MOVIE INFORMATION:
Universal Studios – 1943
1 Hour, 38 Minutes
Black & White

MAIN CREDITS:
Producer…Bruce Manning
Director…Bruce Manning
Screenplay…Frank Ryan
Music…Charles Previn

MAIN CHARACTERS:
Ruth Kirke…Deanna Durbin
Tom Holliday…Edmond O'Brien
Timothy Blake…Barry Fitzgerald
Henderson…Arthur Treacher
Commodore Holliday…Harry Davenport
Edgar…Grant Mitchell
Karen…Frieda Inescort
Louise…Elisabeth Risdon
Ferguson…Jonathan Hale
Uncle Donald…John Frank Hamilton

MOVIE SYNOPSIS:
Ruth Kirke and eight orphaned children are sailing to San Francisco from China. Ruth is the daughter of a missionary and their original vessel, which was commanded by Commodore Holliday, was destroyed by a torpedo. Upon their arrival in the USA, Ruth is informed that the children will only be allowed to stay if a $500 bond for each child is posted. Ruth and the Commodore’s assistant, Timothy Blake then go to the Holliday mansion to see if they can get the $4000 that is needed. The Holliday Family aren’t very receptive to Ruth’s request until Timothy invents a story that she is the widow of the late Commodore. Since Ruth is now the legal widow, they post the bonds and the children come to live in the mansion. When the Tom Holliday arrives, he is suspicious of Ruth’s story about her marriage to the Commodore, but then believes her when he sees the eight children. Ruth tells him her story about how she grew up at her father’s mission school in China. Both her father and mother had died of a fever when she was only ten. One day, years later, the Chinese Army are camping nearby and the Japanese Air Force bomb the mission. Ruth’s uncle is killed in the attack and she departs with some of the children for Calcutta. Ruth’s story is interrupted by the baby crying, so she sings him to sleep. Tom then asks her to tell him about the Commodore’s last voyage. Timothy overhears the conversation and makes noises like a crying child to get her out of a tight spot. That night, Ruth talks to the Hollidays again who still believe that she married the Commodore only for his money. Unexpectedly, the press arrive. They take pictures of Ruth and want to hear her story. Overcome by guilt, she tries to sneak the children out of the house early the next morning, but is spotted by Tom who stops her. Ruth confesses to Tom that she never married the Commodore much to his surprise. She then continues her story. Ruth’s journey had taken her and the children to the ocean. With the help of Timothy, Ruth sneaks the children onboard a vessel which she believes is bound for Calcutta. After they have set sail, the Commodore discovers them onboard and tells Ruth that the ship is actually heading for San Francisco. Despite being angry, he agrees to do his best to help the children. That night the ship is sunk by a torpedo, but Ruth, Timothy and eight of nine children are safe in a lifeboat. Ruth thus ends her story. The next night, Tom tells Ruth that when the children receive their permits she must leave the house. When the permits finally arrive, Ruth asks Timothy to buy her a railroad ticket to Philadelphia. He buys the ticket and then tells Tom that she is leaving. At the station, as Ruth is waiting for her train, Tom rushes in and after much confusion convinces her to come back with him. Soon afterwards, a China War Relief Ball is held at the Holliday mansion. Unknown to all present, Commodore Holliday is in the crowd along with the missing ninth child. He announces his presence and everyone is shocked. The Commodore plays along with the ruse that he is married to Ruth, but changes his mind when he finds out that she is in love with Tom. The Commodore happily announces the new wedding plans and that he will take care of the children.

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THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY

Post  Devotee #1 on 18th January 2008, 00:02

The opening scene shows Ruth Kirke (Deanna Durbin) and the children sailing for San Francisco:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 9th February 2008, 05:25

Ruth recalls how Japanese aircraft bombed the mission school:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 13th March 2008, 10:42

After the bombing, Ruth and the children flee to safety:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 28th March 2008, 10:18

Ruth gives a gorgeous performance of Mighty Like A Rose written by Frank Stanton & Ethelbert Nevin:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 1st April 2008, 13:53

Ruth and Tom Holliday (Edmond O'Brien) discuss the children's needs long distance:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 1st April 2008, 16:19

Ruth and Tom chat after the children have gone to bed:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 25th April 2008, 06:30

The Old Refrain written by Alice Mattullath & Fritz Kreisler is beautifully sung by Ruth:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 25th April 2008, 06:34

Ruth gives the audience an amazing rendition of Vissi D'Arte from Puccin's TOSCA:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 4th May 2008, 12:25

Ruth and Tom speak to a very much alive Commodore Holliday (Harry Davenport):



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Post  Devotee #1 on 5th May 2008, 13:27

MEMORABLE LINES:

Ruth says to Tom, "I was very happy, and when I told the children, they were happy, too. Getting into the United States was like getting into Heaven."


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Post  Devotee #1 on 6th May 2008, 14:06

Deanna Durbin practices using a shoulder pole for a scene in THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:





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Post  Devotee #1 on 25th May 2008, 02:28

Deanna Durbin and Edmond O'Brien go for a walk during the production of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 3rd March 2009, 18:01

Deanna Durbin with some of the Universal crew between filming scenes of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:



Notice the dirty shoes due the thick dust from the back hills of Universal Studios.


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Post  Devotee #1 on 3rd March 2009, 18:02

Deanna Durbin with Bruce Manning and Edmond O'Brien:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 13th March 2009, 14:08

Rice is the obvious choice for Deanna Durbin's meal break during the production of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 13th March 2009, 14:11

Deanna Durbin loved working with the children during the production of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 13th March 2009, 14:32

This is a photo of Deanna Durbin having her wedding ring covered by a larger ring:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 9th May 2010, 11:42

French Director Jean Renoir and Deanna Durbin go for a walk during the production of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 17th May 2010, 17:24

EYE WITNESS ON THE SET

You wouldn't expect to meet Deanna Durbin in China. In fact, I knew we weren't in China because five minutes before I had been down on the Universal lot. A special car had brought us here, into the back hills of the studio property, up the steep and narrow twisting road which likened itself to the Burma Road. Madame Chang, technical advisor for the production, told us it was something like China's lifeline.

It was a hot day, but a cool breeze was blowing. Our surroundings atop the hill were that of a cloistered mission in the Yunnan Province of China; a small church with pointed steeple; a wooden house of western American style; quaint wall and watering trough; thatched open shelter for cattle and an outdoor cooking centre. A long wooden table was set for nearly fifty people.

Beneath another long thatched shelter, sat Deanna (Ruth Kirke) with her crew. She wore a blue shantung coolie garment, a top coat with pyjama style trousers which stopped above the ankles. Socks and a simple low scuff slippers completed the outfit. Deanna's hair was waved softly above her forehead and pulled back into a large, soft braided bun at the back of her neck.

She wasn't busy at that moment, so Sally Wohl, Katherine Ehlen, and I were able to go over to greet her at once. She is always cheerful and cordial. Deanna found chairs for all of us which left no chair for herself, so she instead utilized a nearby table.

Deanna's rest was not long. The crew had begun to set up their equipment for a scene that was later deleted from the finished movie. Two small Caucasian youngsters were seated at the head of the long table. Later the long sides would be filled with the dozens of Chinese children, along with a sprinkling of white children. For now they were left free to play in the sandbox, and the older ones to study within the recesses of the mission home. Waiting mothers spending the day on the set rested on the old fashioned veranda.

"De-Ahn-Nah" called Director Jean Renoir, "We will make your scene now." Deanna got up immediately and went to her place at the head of the table. The camera was placed, the crew ready.

The two little fellows, Christopher Severn (Rodney) and Teddy Infuhr (Teddy) sat side by side. Next to them stood John Hamilton (Uncle of Ruth). With the signal for action the scene followed somewhat like this:

RUTH: "Rodney, you haven't washed your hands."

The little fellow looked rather indignant.

RODNEY: "Oh, I say! I did - nearly rubbed the skin off, you know."

RUTH: "Now Rodney!"

The child slowly brought his not so clean hands from beneath the table.

RODNEY: "Oh, I must have forgot - but they are not so very, very dirty - see?"

He held them both up for Ruth to see, left the table and ran to the nearby water to wash.

At that the chubby Teddy turned in disgust to Rodney and sneered.

TEDDY: "Oh, I say!"

There followed more dialogue from Ruth to all the children, wherein they were given a lesson in cleanliness. Ruth had to portray mirth and have an irrepressible smile at the lines which say her uncle teaches the children a good example, since she knows he often has to be sent away from the table to wash. The children know that too and giggled.

We stood on the sidelines and watched Deanna work. She did not complain, but in the outdoor shooting it was not easy. The dust blew thick on the hill top. At times Deanna had to shield her eyes with both arms from the hot sun. Since Deanna wore no make-up, a big umbrella was brought for her to hold over her head when she was not actually being filmed.

When fog made outdoor shooting impossible, they turned indoors. In the sunny afternoon, "takes" had to be made in between the approaches of nearby planes in the San Fernando Valley, which was a beehive of wartime aircraft activity.

Between scenes, Deanna took us outside the mission to her trailer for cold drinks and a chance to talk. Deanna thought it was great to be at work again, and that Jean Renoir was wonderful.


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Post  Devotee #1 on 26th June 2010, 18:59

Picnic lunch breaks were used to discuss the script for THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY.

From left to right are Leo Townsend, Jean Renoir, Charles David, Deanna Durbin, and Bruce Manning:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 26th June 2010, 19:13

DOUBLE DIRECTORS

The original director of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY (FOREVER YOURS) was Jean Renoir (1894-1979) who was the son of the famous French impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Universal Studios contracted Jean Renoir to make a movie with Deanna Durbin because a change was required to move away from the stereotyped image of the "nice young girl" that Deanna played in her last ten movies. Universal made Bruce Manning the producer. Bruce had worked on many Deanna Durbin scripts and he also admired Jean Renoir. For THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY there was no script - just the start of a story line and some vaguely sketched generalities. On the first day of shooting the writers only had a few pages of script. In the following weeks the production limped along. It came to a point that Deanna wasn't able to visualize her character and act accordingly. After over a month of shooting, Jean and Bruce realized they were heading for a disaster. Shooting was stopped. Bruce said he would ask the front office to shelve the movie and start afresh. He then suggested an idea to Jean. He sketched an adaptation of Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW transposed to a present day Texas gas station. It's owner would have two daughters, the shrew played by Deanna. Jean agreed and shared Bruce's enthusiasm and the two excited writers went to work. But the next day Jean told Deanna he didn't think he could go on with the new movie as he was suffering from an old war wound and was in great pain. That made it possible for him to walk out of his contract with Universal. Deanna felt terribly upset because not even in Hollywood does a captain abandon a sinking ship. Shortly after it was found that Jean was concluding certain commitments with RKO for a movie on the French resistance with Charles Laughton, titled THIS LAND IS MINE. The studio decided to finish the movie as well as possible. Since this was the only film that writer/producer Bruce Manning ever (in part) officially directed, he pulled off a near miraculous salvage job. The seams in the patchwork don't show, and the basic flaws of the movie are in its construction - or lack of it. For the only time in a Deanna Durbin movie, the songs are interpolated whenever it seems time for one - almost like a commercial - instead of coming logically out of plot development. It looks as though Jean had no interest in songs at all, and kept putting the musical elements off until later, with the result that footage and continuity just left no logical spots for the songs. As for the Deanna character, it is sensible, mature, and definitely more restrained than in the earlier formula - but that very restraint gave Deanna no chance to do the kind of things that fans expected (some of which could have been retained, cunningly, even with a new image). The cantankerous character played by Harry Davenport in the earlier portions of the movie undergoes a total change of image for the climax, allowing for a quick and tidy wrap-up when the loose ends threatened to get out of control. And despite his lack of commitment for the movie - there still can be seen recognizable Jean Renoir elements. Although he understood technique thoroughly, he used it unobtrusively, never calling attention to cuts or camera movements. THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY is probably (in a relative sense since the story is somewhat artificial) the most realistic and certainly the least glossy (in terms of production techniques) of all the Deanna Durbin movies. In 1954, Jean Renoir said the following: "I met Deanna Durbin and liked her very much. I had all the Durbin pictures run through for me and those made by Koster were certainly the best. However, I had no gift for that style, and THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY was rightly finished by people who know the job better."


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Post  Devotee #1 on 20th December 2010, 09:18

Due to Deanna's insistence, Universal management promoted Bruce Manning to the position of Director of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 12th February 2011, 13:18

Deanna Durbin and Bruce Manning were great friends:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 12th February 2011, 13:22

Deanna Durbin with Bruce Manning and Vera West who was responsible for the wonderful costumes on THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 14th August 2011, 09:43

Deanna Durbin with Barry Fitzgerald and Arthur Treacher sharing a laugh between shooting scenes in THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:


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Post  Devotee #1 on 3rd September 2011, 08:49

Deanna Durbin with Edmond O'Brien playing with Betty Soohoo and Hayward Soohoo during a break in filming of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:



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Post  Devotee #1 on 5th September 2011, 12:48

Deanna Durbin and Jean Renoir on the set of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:


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Post  Devotee #1 on 5th September 2011, 13:00

This is a photo of one of the outdoor scenes during the production of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:



Deanna Durbin can be seen in the bottom left corner.

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Post  Devotee #1 on 5th September 2011, 13:03

Deanna Durbin on the set of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:


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Post  Devotee #1 on 5th September 2011, 13:05

Deanna Durbin poses with some of the cast during the filming of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:


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Post  Devotee #1 on 5th September 2011, 13:16

During the filming of THE AMAZING MRS HOLIDAY, the film crew played a trick on Deanna. She had to do a scene where she sits on the side of the bed and puts her feet into bedroom slippers. The crew had stuffed crackly paper in the toes. Deanna thought it was a bug and her scream was so loud that almost all of Hollywood could hear it.

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Post  Devotee #1 on 5th September 2011, 13:17

Here are some of the mistakes in THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY:

When Tom shakes hands with one of the children on the staircase he puts both hands into his pockets, but the next camera shot has only one of his hands in a pocket.

Just before Ruth and the nine children secretly board Commodore Holliday's ship she sees him write a cablegram. Ruth then clearly hears Major Wilson say out loud the destination San Francisco twice as he censors part of the cablegram, yet Ruth still runs to the Commodore to ask him if he is going to Calcutta.

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Post  Devotee #1 on 5th September 2011, 13:27

There was a funny incident during the filming of THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY when Ruth and Tom are putting the children to bed.

One little 5-year-old was getting a bit tired of having to lie in bed so long.

Deanna Durbin and Edmond O'Brien were shooting a tender scene over the tiny baby’s crib, and every time they got right into the tenderest part of it there would come a distinct razzberry from the direction of the little boy.

After he had ruined two takes Edmond turned to him and solemnly said, "Listen, chum, you’re supposed to be a child actor, not a critic."

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Post  Devotee #1 on 5th September 2011, 13:44

The original title for THE AMAZING MRS HOLLIDAY was FOREVER YOURS:


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Post  Devotee #1 on 30th September 2013, 13:32


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