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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

His Butler's Sister (1943)



Reviews and Comments

His Butler's Sister is yet another Deanna Durbin vehicle that is smart, funny, and fun. Durbin plays a woman who wants to make a career singing (what else?) but needs to be recognized first. Franchot Tone plays a song writer who's just the one who can help -- but he's inundated with young girls who perform impromptu auditions for him all the time, and the last thing he wants is for her to do the same. But she is determined, and through a happy series of accidental events, she ends up his maid.

She falls in love with him of course, and this leads to the movie's single significant writing lapse. The final act of the movie introduces a complication that threatens to tear them apart -- one that the characters are too smart to fall for -- which is subsequently resolved too rashly, leaving one scratching one's head when the final credits roll.

But no matter. The heart of this movie is Durbin's down to earth comedy (pleasantly integrated with the luxurious and carefree world of the screwball comedies of the thirties and forties) and, of course, her spectacular singing voice. What I especially appreciated was that the songs were integrated into the plot. All too often, musicals from that era used music as a break from the story. Here, songs are used to develop the story in some manner, so that we get to enjoy the music without everything else grinding to a halt.