|Deanna plays a schoolteacher in China who must flee with a group of orphans after the Japanese attack her village.|
In a more dramatic role that usual, Deanna Durbin is wonderful in her role as Ruth, a young missionary who rescues a group of orphans from war-torn China during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
The film begins with Ruth - an orphan herself - and the children arriving in San Francisco on a lifeboat after their ship was torpedoed by the Japanese, killing the elderly captain - Commodore Tom Holliday. A sailor aboard the ship (Barry Fitzgerald) is the only other survivor of the attack, and he accompanies Deanna and the children to shore. He also leads them to help at the Holliday Mansion - and provides some comic relief along the way.
Ruth poses as Holliday's widow and attempts to shelter the children in the mansion, but has to fool all of the residents including the butler (Arthur Treacher) and the Commodore's grandson (Edmund O'Brien). Barry Fitzgerald is funny as he conjures up an impromptu tale about their marriage.
|The film was nominated for an Oscar for |
Best Music Score.
For awhile it almost felt like an autobiographical film, though this film is not based on any one missionary in particular. Though there are some humorous moments of mistaken-identity typical of a Deanna film, there are some sad flashback scenes that are reminders of the harsh realities of war, and I was reminded of the work and devotion of overseas missionaries like the one Deanna plays in the film. By the end of the film, though, I was reminded that this is a Hollywood story.
More photos from the movie can be found here at Deanna Durbin Devotees.
Read more about the child actors in the film in another review of this film from Laura at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings.