[1937.8] One Hundred Men and a Girl

I will be watching all 10 nominees from 1937 before I move on to the next year. The goal here is to watch them and have an internal discussion among them to try to piece together a “history” of the year. Let’s get to it.  

The simplest movie out of the eight (so far) from 1937, One Hundred Men and a Girl, also proves one of the most successful. This film is logically self-contained, and though it possesses only fragments of human endeavor, its ends justify its means. One Hundred Men and a Girl is meant to show off breakout star Deanna Durbin’s vocal and acting chops and needed a truly simple plot to maneuver from point A to point B. In 80 minutes, we learn just enough about each character so that we (the audience) can discern a character’s motivations for action, even if the environment will not allow for it or, more often, over-corrects to an illogical extreme. What makes One Hundred Men and a Girl different from a film like In Old Chicago is the complete unabashed focus on real-life career-making at the expense of a comprehensive or even believable story or character development.

For example, in no way do I believe that 100 people are ready at a moment’s notice, fully practiced and tuned, to jump at the chance to perform “in three days,” for a famed maestro [the actual Leopold Stokowski], who has no idea of any of it. I do not believe young Patsy has the wherewithal to move so deftly through a city and catch people unaware and ready to chat – or the opposite, to “just miss” the loopy (and perhaps drunk) benefactress for this orchestra of unemployed urchins. I do not believe the supportive taxi man would give up his day job to shuttle this rambunctious, if not well-meaning, teenager, around the city for hours and days at a time as an “investment in her voice.” BUT: because I am aware of all these plot holes and nonsense coincidences, and I am also aware of this film’s purpose, I cast aside the doubt in exchange for a simple and fun 80-minute tale of validated dreams. It is inspiring.  Continue reading