Something in the Wind (1947)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1947
Running Time 85:16
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Irving Pichel
Studio
Distributor
Universal-Internatnl
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
John Dall
Donald O'Connor
Charles Winninger
Helena Carter
Margaret Wycherly
Jean Adair
Jan Peerce
Jacqueline De Wit
The Williams Brothers
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Johnny Green
Leo Robin
Giuseppe Verdi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, Male star smoke frequently.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    Good news for those contemplating buying the nineteen disc set  Deanna Durbin : The Collection! Roadshow have announced an April price drop to $150 "for Mother's Day".

     The merger of Universal and International Pictures in November 1946 saw a major shake-up on the old Universal lot. A number of former Universal regulars were dismissed, but retained were Deanna Durbin, still the studio's reigning queen , and young dancer comedian Donald O'Connor. The teaming of the two young stars in Something in the Wind - Durbin still only twenty-five after nineteen movies, and O'Connor twenty-two - was a bright idea, even if their on-screen interaction ended up being minimal.


     After bright big-band orchestrated credits, we meet lady disc jockey Mary Collins (Deanna Durbin), playing and singing her theme, The Turntable Song. Mary lives with her aunt, also named Mary Collins (Jean Adair). Donald Read (John Dall), the stuffy grandson of a recently deceased tycoon, believes that young Mary was the mistress of his dead grandfather - it is of course the older Mary who was the paramour. Grandma Read (Margaret Wycherly) orders her two grandsons, Donald and cousin Charlie (Donald O'Connor) to kidnap the girl and bring her to their home in order to "sort things out". The outraged Mary plays along with their mistake regarding the dead old man's love life, and asks for a million dollars for herself "and the baby". The usual deceptions and misunderstandings ensue and it all should be good fun, and generally is. The situation is silly and unbelievable and the performances suitably over the top. Also involved are mischievous Uncle Chester (Charles Winninger) and Donald's socialite fiancée, Clarissa ( beautiful Helena Carter), with whom Charlie is smitten. The story by Charles O'Neal and Fritz Rotter, is enjoyably ridiculous, and the screenplay by William Bowers and Harry Kurnitz generally exploits the silliness to the full. Irving Pichel's direction pitches everything at just the right level, until he allows things to bog down a little in the last twenty minutes with the two old ladies. Ten minutes trimmed would have been no loss.


    Here, for once, Deanna Durbin is not presented well on screen. Frequently frumpily dressed, and with unflattering shorter hair, she looks at times quite matronly. In some scenes, such as the fashion sequence, she looks great, but elsewhere that's not always the case. Her singing remains faultless, and composers Johnny Green and Leo Robin have provided a handful of  songs, not all great, but containing three standouts. The opening The Turntable Song, a big hit in 1947, gives the movie a great start, and the naughtily sexy You Wanna Keep Your Baby Lookin' Right is a treat. The title song is melodic, rhythmic and beautifully sung by Deanna, with a little assistance from The Williams Brothers, one of whom was "Andy". Johnny Green's orchestration in this number is terrific. Green's talents enriched many great musicals, mostly at MGM, and here he provides a musical backing more modern than in the earlier movies in this set. The Durbin musical program is filled out by It's Only Love, forgettable and not attractively photographed,  and the rather ordinary Happy Go Lucky and Free. There is also a smartly staged duet with Metropolitan Opera star Jan Peerce, playing a cop, of Miserere from Il Trovatore.


    A pity some of the exuberance of Donald O'Connor didn't transfer to Deanna, but she really isn't given the opportunity. With seemingly unlimited energy O'Connor bounds through dialogue, songs, pratfalls, a short Cary Grant impersonation and a ballet spoof. His highlight is the song and "dance" I Love a Mystery, a somewhat repetitive precursor to his unforgettable Make 'em Laugh from Singin' in the Rain. Also good, surprisingly so, is John Dall. An actor mostly remembered for his homosexual murderer in Hitchcock's Rope, Dall makes an attractive romantic lead, moving from his stuffy early scenes into the lighter situations very smoothly.


    In August 1947 Universal International released  Something in the Wind, and ahead lay very different futures for the two top-billed stars. Donald O'Connor was to make six films co-starring him with Francis the Talking Mule before moving on,  while Deanna Durbin was to have just two more starring roles before, at twenty-six, going into total voluntary retirement. In August of '47 they rewarded their audiences with this amusing piece of  harmless fun.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This release of Something in the Wind provides a very good print of the film, with a similar soundtrack.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
    The titles have been slightly reduced to accommodate all of the written information.

    The print used appears to be undoctored, without any restoration. Reel cues are still in evidence.
    

    The image is steady and sharp with a very small amount of grain.
    Shadow detail is  very good, with the transfer reproducing the original picture very nicely. Blacks are deep and solid and the whites do not flare.
    The grey scale is most attractive, producing a pleasing black and white image.
     
    Film to video effects were difficult to find, with just a few cases of low level noise noted.
    Aliasing was seen on Deanna Durbin's jacket in a couple of scenes (20:02 and 57:06).
    

    Film artefacts are also hard to find, apart from the occasional white fleck.
    As stated, reel cues are still in evidence (37:45 for instance). There is no damage at the end of reels.
    
    Not one trace of debris was noted.
    

    This appears to be an unrestored print of the film, with consistent quality from reel to reel. It is basically in good, clean condition and delivers a solid, reliable and enjoyable image. .

    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
      
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio on this unrestored print is very pleasing, with not one major problem.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    There are no sync problems.
    
        
    There is very little background noise on the disc, the soundstage generally being extremely quiet.
    There is very little crackle and an occasional "pop" (35:46 , 60:0465:02), but nothing that is distracting.
    

    The clarity of the sound on this film is extremely pleasing. The human voice is produced sharply and cleanly - in dialogue and song.
    Johnny Green's orchestrations, and the background score, are reproduced very attractively.
    
    There are no dropouts.

 

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on Something in the Wind - there are no extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer.
    The inside of the cover slick has small reproductions of three stills from the film.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises one portrait of Deanna Durbin, with the orchestration from the film's credits.
    The options are :
        Play Film
       Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with another Durbin portrait and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Region 1 has released Something in the Wind  in the Deanna Durbin : Sweetheart Pack along with Three Smart Girls, Lady on a Train, First Love, It Started With Eve  and Can't Help Singing. This issue has two extras which we do not get in Region 4. These are:

Featurette : (10:22) This I suspect was made to be shown to exhibitors to "sell" Universal-International's product. A fascinating oddity.
                                On screen writing  announces the coming of "an old friend with a startling new personality".
                                We then are given Deanna Durbin's The Turntable Song in its entirety.
                                Then comes the announcement  " ... and Donald O'Connor in his first screen appearance since leaving the service".
                                This leads into the complete I Love a Murder Mystery number.
                                We then get a section of Something in the Wind, and finally the complete You Wanna Keep You're Baby Lookin' Right.

                                The quality is almost as good as the feature, with a little damage towards the end.

Trailer : (02:34) This is the complete original theatrical trailer, with an introduction by Donald O'Connor. It is very interesting to see that the female star was being hailed as        
                         having a "sensational new singing style", a sign that post-war audiences were tiring of the "old" Deanna and that Universal-International were repackaging her.

                         
    
    The nineteen titles box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. Something in the Wind  is also available separately.

    If you don't want the complete nineteen disc set, the Region 1 Sweetheart Pack is a good buy, with some of the better titles and at least some extras.

Summary

     Although the leading lady does not always look physically comfortable, she performs very nicely in the musical numbers, particularly those which show the "new" Deanna. This is a light piece of nonsense, with a better than average bunch of songs and a "go for broke" bravura performance from Donald O'Connor. Generally good fun in a transfer that looks and sounds attractive.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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