Mary Collins (Deanna Durbin) is a radio singer and disc jockey for WFBO.
One morning, she gets called into a meeting with the very wealthy Donald Read (John Dall), head of Read Industries. In a case of mistaken identity, Donald believes that Mary was the mistress of Henry, his recently-deceased grandfather. He offers her some hush money.
Mary, innocent of the accusations, gets angry and storms out of the meeting. But soon, she learns that her aunt (who shares her name) once worked for the Read family and was, in fact, in love with Henry. Mishaps ensue as Donald works to resolve the matter.
Irving Pichel directs 1947’s Something in the Wind. The film is based on a story by Fritz Rotter and Charles O’Neal, adapted for the screen by Harry Kurnitz and William Bowers.
I watched Something in the Wind back-to-back with Three Smart Girls and it was interesting, to me, just how much Deanna Durbin grew up in the 11 years between the two films being released! She was very teen-aged and bright-eyed in Three Smart Girls, while in this film she’s a smart, outspoken, mature career woman.
It isn’t just the characters that are different — Durbin herself approaches them in different ways. She has just as much charisma, but isn’t quite as exuberant here as in the former film. She takes a more restrained and reserved approach to Mary, which is appropriate for the character and shows that Durbin was talented as an actress in addition to her obvious talents as a singer.
The film’s got some quirk in the form of side characters. Uncle Chester (Charles Winninger, who also appeared with Durbin in Three Smart Girls!) is the most pronounced, hiding out in a chest and pretending he fell asleep there so he can eavesdrop on a conversation about Henry’s money. He adds a bit of humor to what is, at times, a tense situation between the members of the Read family.
Donald O’Connor is another star of the supporting cast, appearing as Charlie Read, a member of the family who schemes against Donald Read because he’s in love with Donald’s fiance.
Something in the Wind‘s scenario has high potential for both comedy and drama. In the case of this film, it brings more comedy than drama, but not quite enough of either to make for a truly great film. Though there are a number of very funny scenes (including a very fun musical number about murder), the film feels longer than it actually is, with a somewhat slow pace between laughs.
Something in the Wind isn’t a spectacular film — enjoyable overall and with nice music, but with that slower pace, it’s not up to par with some of the other films in the Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Pack DVD set. The score: 3.5/5