Spring Parade
Universal Pictures

Directed by Henry Koster
Written by Bruce Manning and Felix Jackson
Based on original by Ernst Marischka
a Joseph Pasternak production

Released Oct. 2, 1940

     Prince Charming-Cinderella tale.  Story picks up with Miss Durbin at a county fair where she buys a fortune card.  Fortune teller informs her that she will find an artist in Vienna, and a powerful personage will insure her marriage and happiness.  She hayrides to the city, is befriended by kindly old baker, S.Z. Sakall, and meets an army drummer, Robert Cummings, who turns out to be a composer.

     When army regulations prevent his writing, Miss Durbin inserts a copy of one of his waltzes in a salt stick which goes to the Emperor.  The latter is amused at the incident, accepts the explanation of the girl, and winds up by being a kindly monarch who commands the girl to sing the number at a palace ball, with Cummings handling the accompaniment. 

     Corking performance by S.Z. Sakall and tunes liberally sprinkled throughout the running do much to overcome soft story.  "It's Foolish But It's Fun" is a sprightly tempoed song by Robert Stolz and Gus Kahn.  The also contribute "When April Sings" and "Waltzing in the Clouds," latter carries a good waltz melody that gives it the best chance for pop attention.  "Blue Danube Dream" by Hans Salter and Kahn may catch on moderately.

     Sakall commands attention with his contribution as the portly baker; Mischa Auer is on for substantial comedy in the early reels, and then fades out.  Cummings is okay as the romantic lead, while Butch and Buddy appear for usual antics in the bakery.

     Anne Gwynne is good as gold, pursuing the titled Allyn Joslyn.
  Henry Stephensons' characterization of the Emperor makes the latter decidedly human.  The film provides class A production values throughout, Joseph Valentine's photography being of outstanding merit.  Sound recording of the musical numbers and musical direction by Charles Previn are topnotch.

Ms. Gwynne and Ms. Durbin, working in the Viennese bakery that services the Royal Court, getting a full measure of the charm of Robert Cummings. Take a look.

Robert Cummings comes to believe his new love, Deanna Durbin,
is dating another man. This scene expresses his anger, while
Ms Durbin & Ms Gwynne, with help, devise a way to assist their
employer, in Vienna, Austria. Take a look
 

Full Storyline

In a mountain village close to Vienna, Ilonka Tolnay buys a fortune card at a carnival and receives the following fortune: "Your future is in Vienna/Your husband will be an artist/Your friend in need will be a great and powerful man/But be careful, true love will hit you with a stick." An eminently practical young country woman, Ilonka scoffs at the idea of ever going to Vienna but, after a dizzying folk dance, falls asleep in a hay wagon headed for Vienna.

When she awakens, she decides to continue on her pre-destined path, and the kindly driver, baker Ladislaus Tescheck, offers to let her stay with him at his bakery. Ilonka shares a bedroom with Jenny (Anne Gwynne), who lives and works in the bakery, and flirts with the soldiers passing on parade in the street below. Drummer Harry Marten looks up and sees Jenny smile and, thinking this an invitation, brings her flowers at the bakery.

Jenny is flattered by the attention, but when her boyfriend, Count Zorndorf, comes in to see her, she pretends that Harry is there to see Ilonka. Harry later sends a message to Jenny to meet him at the wine garden that night, but the baker's mischievous nephews give the note to Ilonka. She sheds her dirndl for one of Jenny's more sophisticated dresses and awaits Harry, who is disappointed when he realizes that Ilonka is his date for the evening. Ilonka's country ways embarrass Harry, but when he is inspired to compose music, Ilonka enthusiastically quiets the restaurant, and then gets the orchestra to play his piece.

Ilonka, a beautiful singer herself, considers musicians to be artists, and has fulfilled the second decree of her fortune by falling in love with Harry, whose true love is music, not the military. That night, Ilonka receives permission from Tescheck to stay longer at the bakery and unknown to him, slips a note and Harry's composition into Tescheck's special salt rolls which are intended for the Emperor. The note informs the Emperor that a certain musician is being persecuted by the army because he is not allowed to compose music while he is a soldier.

The Emperor's officials arrest Tescheck for attempting to poison the Emperor. Ilonka confesses her misdeed to Jenny, who, through the count, arranges for Ilonka to meet the Emperor and explain the situation. While Ilonka is at dinner learning the proper etiquette with which to approach royalty, Tescheck's nephews tell Harry that Ilonka is really from Vienna and is dating another man. Furious, Harry shows up at the restaurant and pokes fun at Ilonka and her companions and makes love to another woman.

Ilonka rebuffs him with a slap and, during her interview with the Emperor, who is charmed by her sweet country ways, tells him she was wrong about the composer. The Emperor releases Tescheck and gives him the title of Court Baker, and later invites Ilonka to a court ball. At first Ilonka refuses to go, intending to return home, but seeing Tescheck's disappointment at missing the opportunity of being her escort to the palace, attends the royal ball.

Once there, the Emperor asks her to sing for him, and when Ilonka stands by the orchestra, she discovers that Harry is the conductor and that the Emperor has set her up, knowing that she is in love. While Ilonka sings Harry's waltz, Harry accidentally hits her head with his baton. Realizing she has found her true love, Ilonka forgives him, and they dance the waltz together.

Cast:

Deanna Durbin 

Robert Cummings 

Mischa Auer 

Henry Stephenson 

S.Z. Sakall 

Anne Gwynne ... Jenny

Reginald Denny

Peggy Moran 

 

Production:

Bruce Manning & Felix Jackson- Writers

Ernst Marischka- Original story

Erle Kenton- Director 

Joseph Valentine- Cinematographer

Bernard Burton- Editor

Larry Beballos- Dances

Robert Stolz and Hans Salter- Music

Gus Kahn- Lyrics

Charles Previn- Music arrangements


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