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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937)



Reviews and Comments

One Hundred Men and a Girl is one of those movies that's so humorously written, effortlessly executed, and high spirited that it's just plain fun to watch. It's also a fulfilling fairy tale. A young girl (Deanna Durbin) and her father (Adolph Menjou) are dirt poor, but he's a great musician, and she never stops seeking opportunities to employ her father. She never loses hope either. They grab our sympathy early on, in spite of the fact that her father gives in to the temptation to steal and lie when it seems he has no other choice. Maybe he earns our sympathy because of it -- because he wants to do the right thing but doesn't see any other alternative.

This story crosses the spectrum of social classes. The rich in this movie could help the poor out, but they don't -- not necessarily because they're snobbish and rude, but because they're ignorant to the plights of the poor. Durbin meets a rich woman, and the woman is fascinated by her -- but she doesn't see the girl as a real person and therefore cannot sympathize with her plight. The woman's husband is not so much ignorant as a hopeless businessman. It just doesn't make economic sense to invest in a troupe of musicians, however good they may be, unless they can attract audiences. Then there's the great conductor Leopold Stokowski, playing himself, who is one of the most entertaining elements of the film.

I recommend this modern fairy tale very highly. Like most of Deanna Durbin's features, there is high spirited music, comedy, and charisma in large helpings that should delight her fans and make some new ones.