Infobox Film | name = Every Sunday
caption = Original newspaper ad
Felix E. Feist
released = 1936
language = English
imdb_id = 0027585
"Every Sunday" (sometimes incorrectly listed as "Every Sunday Afternoon" or "Opera vs. Jazz") is a 1936 short
musical film. It tells the story of two young girls and their efforts to save a public concert series, which was being threatened by poor attendance.
Felix E. Feist, the film served as a screen test for, and is the first significant screen appearance of, two young actresses who would go on to become major stars, Judy Garlandand Deanna Durbin. Although only lightly reviewed at the time of its release, the film has garnered a generally positive reputation among Garland biographers.
Small town friends Edna (Deanna Durbin) and Judy (Judy Garland) are upset. Edna's grandfather and his orchestra, who play free Sunday concerts at a local park, have been fired by the town council because the concerts are poorly attended. The girls hit upon the idea of singing at the concerts and set about promoting the next concert. The following Sunday Edna and Judy join Granddad on the bandstand. Edna's operatic style and Judy's swing bring crowds running from all over the park. The event is a huge success and Granddad's concerts are saved.
Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland were both under contract to
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayerbut the studio had not put them to work in films. With their contracts coming up for renewal, feelings among studio executives were that the studio didn't need two girl singers. "Every Sunday" would serve as an extended screen test to decide which girl's contract would be renewed. [Clarke, p. 73]
Durbin recorded the
aria"Il Bacio" for the film. Composers Con Conradand Herb Magidsonwrote a specialty number for Garland, "The Americana." [Juneau 1974, p.25]
Following the screening of the short for MGM executives, opinion was divided on whether Garland or Durbin should be retained. Finally,
Louis B. Mayer, upon his return from a European trip, decreed that both girls should be kept. [Gerold p. 83] However, Durbin's contract option had expired by then. She was signed by Universal Studios, where her first picture, " Three Smart Girls", was so successful that it saved Universal from bankruptcy. [Clarke 2001, p.76]
As a short film that served as a second feature, "Every Sunday" received scant critical attention upon its release. Durbin's hometown newspaper, the "
Winnipeg Free Press", did praise the film, lamenting that it was "all too short" and citing Garland as a "girl singer of distinction." ["Radio Flashes: Deanna Again" 1937, p.26]
Garland biographers, when discussing the film in any detail, are generally complimentary both to the film and to Garland. "Unpretentious and fascinating..."Every Sunday" gives us a marvelous glimpse of Judy's talent in an unrefined state" is a typical comment,Finch 1975, p.98] with the film "reveal [ing] how accomplished a performer Judy Garland already was at fourteen." [Juneau 1974, p.27] Durbin does not fare quite as well. Although described by one biographer as appearing "relaxed" and "happy" on film [Shipman 1975, p.60] others dismiss her "diffidence" and call her "stiff." [Juneau 1974, p.28]
* [http://imdb.com/title/tt0027585/ Every Sunday] at the
Internet Movie Database
* [http://www.thejudyroom.com/discography/soundtracks/everysunday.html/ The Judy Garland Online Discography "Every Sunday" page]
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