Can't Help Singing

1944

Musical / Romance / Western

1
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 43%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 43% · 100 ratings
IMDb Rating 6.2/10 10 652 652

Director

Top cast

Glenn Strange as Gunman
Clara Blandick as Aunt Cissy
Michael Ansara as California Caballero
Deanna Durbin as Caroline Frost
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
830.51 MB
1280*946
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 30 min
Seeds 8
1.51 GB
1460*1078
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 30 min
Seeds 16

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by seegmiller 7 / 10

"Can't Help Singing" filmed in Utah

I wanted to second the comments of Sdiner that "Can't Help Singing" is a lavishly produced and totally unappreciated color movie from the early 1940s. A local showing a couple of years ago brought out dozens of fans in Southern Utah, including many who remember seeing it in the 1940s and 2-3 people who were extras in the film. Many scenes were shot in the meadows of the Markagunt Plateau, near Navajo Lake, in southwestern Utah, and Deanna Durbin was filmed against the backdrop of nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument (not Bryce Canyon), not far from the resort town of Brian Head. A number of movies between 1938 and the mid-1950s used this "studio" for real-life scenery, movies like "The Outriders," "My Friend Flicka," and "Drums Along the Mohawk." These movies did much to open up the interest of Americans in the West and its national parks, but it was the glorious Technicolor that made and makes "Can't Help Singing" truly special.

Reviewed by adamshl 6 / 10

A Three-Song Film

This Durbin vehicle had just three songs worthy of Jerome Kern and E. Y. Harburg: "More and More," "Californ-i-ay," and the title song. These are really wonderful pieces, which fortunately recur throughout on a regular basis.

The Technicolor is indeed glorious, and there's nothing wrong with the casting. It's also true that Durbin looks radiant in her first color film.

Alas, the rest of the score is a disappointment, simply lacking in inspiration. They try to beef it up with production values, to little avail. Likewise, the script's just not quite up to Deanna's standards. One can admire the costumes, staging, photography--and those three songs. Durbin fans will be probably be pleased with everything here; others, probably less so.

It's easy to see the Durbin magic as she lights up the screen with charisma and her beautiful voice. A pleasant trifle for the Durbin DVD "Sweetheart Pack."

Reviewed by Terrell-4 7 / 10

Durbin at her most engaging, plus two great Kern/Harburg songs

There is a reason Deanna Durbin was one of the top Hollywood stars from the mid-Thirties through the Forties. She was a natural actress with a fine face and figure and a deep- throated soprano she knew how to use. She was one of those people the camera loves. Her personality, direct and warm, comes straight across to the audience. She could handle all the immaculate make-up Hollywood gave her as she matured into a young woman, but there always was something of the tomboy about her. She had a natural exuberance, a sense of humor and a good-natured willingness to take pratfalls or march into mud-holes. And she was a professional at her craft. In this movie, Can't Help Singing, watch how she manages to wander through the woods singing, through bushes and over hillocks, avoiding branches, and periodically fronting pretty scenery. This scene is shot in long takes. I have no idea how many takes it took, but Durbin manages to move, sing, smile, emote a bit and hit all of her marks without any sign of effort or evidence of an editor's scissors used to mask mistakes.

By the time Durbin was 14 she was major box office, and stayed there until she retired in 1950 at 29. She never liked the glitz and fan adulation of stardom. She and her third husband left for France right after she retired and that was that. She still lives just outside Paris, has turned down any number of film offers and hasn't granted an interview with anyone since 1949. As a person who was grounded in reality and decided to live her own life, Deanna Durbin gets a tip of my hat.

Can't Help Singing is a lush, colorful musical about a young woman, Caroline Frost, daughter of a wealthy senator, who leaves Washington against the wishes of her father to meet the man she intents to marry. He is a cavalry lieutenant, and the senator has seen to it that his regiment has been sent to California to guard gold during the start of the Gold Rush. Caroline is determined, and along the way has to deal with steamboats, Russian con-men, a cross-country wagon, Indians, finaglers, grafters, boss-men and card sharps. The card sharp winds up holding more than cards. He turns out to be the romantic lead. After 90 minutes of songs, comedy, adventures and the occasional kiss, all ends well for everyone.

This was Deanna Durbin's only color movie and the studio went all out. Can't Help Singing is stuffed with wide-open vistas, detailed studio sets and costumes that would make Vincente Minnelli envious. What makes the movie memorable, however (in addition to Durbin), are two songs from the score by Jerome Kern and E. Y. Harburg. From the moment the movie starts and we see Durbin driving a two-horse carriage singing "Can't Help Singing," it's time to sit back and smile. The number is one of those big, fat, intensely melodic songs that few composers besides Kern could pull off. She sings it twice, the last time part of a production that takes place in an outdoor western bath house. It pops up now and then as a melodic background line. The song works every time. The second Kern/Harburg show-stopper is "Californ-i-ay," where "the hills have more splendor; the girls have more gender." It's another major production number with a big melody and clever lyrics. Everyone and everything from the two leads to giant vegetables take part.

The movie is pleasant enough, although the two Russian con-men get tedious and Durbin's leading man, while manly enough, doesn't make much of an impression. The movie belongs only to Deanna Durbin, as all of her films did. With those two songs from Kern and Harburg, it's worth spending some time with.

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