Deanna Durbin is a bright, luminous star in her second picture, One Hundred Men and a Girl. Its originality rests on a firm and strong foundation, craftsmanship which has captured popular values from Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Mozart and Verdi.
Universal wisely gives her excellent support in Leopold Stokowski, director of the Philadelphia symphony orchestra, who plays a lengthy film role with surprising ease and conviction, and Adolphe Menjou, who is in a role quite different from his usual type of parts. In addition to these two, Alice Brady breezes thru a short sequence in high glee, and Eugene Pallette, Mischa Auer and Billy Gilbert have important things to do and do them well.
The ‘hundred men’ of the title are members of a symphony orchestra of unemployed musicians whom Durbin is organizing and managing. Hans Kraly is credited with the original story.
Idea is that the unemployed artists in order to get sponsorship for a radio contract must obtain a conductor with an outstanding name of wide radio appeal. Stokowski, completing his regular subscription season, is unapproachable, but rebuffs which would discourage Napoleon mean nothing to the youngster.
Durbin, to Stokowski accompaniment, sings Mozart’s ‘Exultate’ and the aria ‘Libiamo ne’ from Traviata.
1937: Best Score.
Nomination: Best Picture, Original Story, Editing, Sound