Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

It Started With Eve (1941)



Reviews and Comments

"I'm hungry."

Deanna Durbin had a beautiful singing voice and was an accomplished pianist. That may have been what drew the audiences of the day to her films, but what makes It Started With Eve (and many of her other films) so supremely entertaining isn't the music, which is secondary, but the side-splitting comic situations the characters find themselves in.

It Started With Eve is head and shoulders above the crowd for a number of other reasons. Foremost is that the characters are real, not actors in a comedy punctuating comic moments. For example, one of the greatest scenes is when Durbin and the scene-stealing Charles Laughton (playing a character he would more or less reprise sixteen years later in Witness For the Prosecution which earned him an Academy Award nomination) sit at a table in a nightclub and laugh themselves silly over something amusing that happens involving a lambchop. A lesser comedy would have played the gag straight-faced, evoked the requisite laughs, and moved on. Here, the characters laugh with the audience, elaborating on the silly hilarity of the gag with short phrases spat out between guffaws. It feels like we're sitting at the table with them, carousing with friends, and laughing as uncontrollably as they. Yet this is merely one among many finely-wrought, seamlessly executed scenes that comprise the whole.

In addition, there's more substance to the film than the usual situational comedy. Mixed in are some engrossing emotional moments -- and unlike many comedies that do this awkwardly, these are neither gratuitous nor disruptive to the film's flow. Again the characters are real, and we feel for them in whatever situation they're in -- whether it calls for laughter or sympathy.

It is rare that a motion picture can accomplish so much. It Started With Eve creates dynamic characters with intelligent dialogue and evokes a complex array of emotions without diluting its riotous humor. And it's a joy.