It Started With Eve

Title Card

I became a Deanna Durbin fan after I saw It Started with Eve on TCM. It’s also my favorite movie of hers. It also stars Charles Laughton and Robert Cummings.

Jonathan Reynolds Sr. (Charles Laughton) is in his big bed in his large posh home sick and dying. Before he dies he wants to meet his son’s (Robert Cummings) fiancée Gloria Pennington (Margaret Tallichet). He goes to the hotel to find her. Unable to locate her and desperate he pays Anne Terry (Deanna Durbin), the hat check girl, to come back to his house and pose as his fiancée. She agrees and so the endless stream of lies begins.

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Anne meets Jonathan Sr. and he’s very taken with her and proud that she will become his daughter in law. She leaves thinking he will die that night. Men from the National Museum are waiting in the lobby waiting to make the death mask.

The next morning old man Reynolds wakes up wanting a steak and a cigar. He also wants to see Gloria.

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In a panic Jonathan needs to find Anne who is at the train station leaving to see her family. He begs her to come back to the house with him. Once again he offers to pay her to pose as his fiancée. When they get there Reynolds Sr. is in bed wide awake surrounded by a nurse, a Bishop and his doctor. He wants Anne to open a safe where the family jewels are kept. Jonathan is having a fit. He wants to tell his father the truth but the doctor advises against it fearing his father will have a shock.

Anne finds out that Reynolds Sr. knows Leopold Stokowski. Since she sings and has been looking for her big break she finds this news rather interesting. She goes downstairs and pulls the piano to where Reynolds Sr. can hear her sing from upstairs. The doctor comes out to the stairs to hear her sing and soon after Reynolds is out of bed and at the stairs too. When the doctor realizes Reynolds is out of bed he starts yelling at him to get back into bed. Reynolds agrees to let Stokowski hear her sing.

In the meantime Jonathan tells Gloria and her mother the truth about Anne. Jonathan wants to wait a few days until his father is stronger before he tells him the truth. Her mother is upset that another woman is posing as Gloria.

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Jonathan finds out Reynolds is giving a party for Anne so some people can hear her sing and he also wants to introduce everyone to Jonathan’s “fiancée”. Jonathan goes to Anne’s apartment to tell her she no longer had to come to the house to see his father. His plan is to tell his father that they quarreled and no longer engaged. He will introduce the real Gloria as friends of the doctor.

Anne shows up at the house to beg Jonathan for forgiveness for the quarrel they were supposed to have had in front of Reynolds. She really wants to go to the party he is throwing for her because this is her opportunity to sing for important people. Reynolds goes off in search of his cigars and Anne and Jonathon chase each other around the room actually quarrelling. Reynolds walks in on them and hears their talk about telling the truth and how she will disappear after the party. Reynolds now knows everything. Gloria and her mother show up and introduced as friends of Dr. Harvey. Reynolds introduces Anne to them as Gloria Pennington, his son’s fiancée.

Anne goes upstairs to try to tell Reynolds the truth but he won’t let her. He pretends to be sick. When she goes downstairs she tells Jonathan she tried to tell his father the truth. They hatch a plan to get her out of the party.

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During the party Anne calls Reynolds to tell him she’s sick and can’t make it. When he insists on seeing her she tells him she never wants to see him again. Gloria and her mother arrive. Jonathan goes looking for his father and can’t find him.

Anne is surprised when Reynolds arrives at her apartment. He finds her packing her suitcase to go back home. He reveals he knows her real name is Anne Terry. He suggests they go someplace to say goodbye. They arrive at a dinner club where everyone knows him. He’s been secretly matchmaking Anne and Jonathan since he found out who she really was.

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A picture is taken of them together at the club and he tells the photographer he was with Anne Terry, his son’s fiancée. He knows she is in love with his son. They start to dance and a conga starts and they have a marvelous time dancing to it. The doctor and Jonathan arrive and are shocked to see Reynolds out of the house and dancing. Jonathan blames Anne for his father being out and she throws a drink in his face.

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The next morning at the train station Jonathan arrives and tells Anne that his father has had another attack and this may be the end for him. They go back to the house and as they go upstairs the nurse asks if they want to see Mr. Reynolds. They both looked shocked and ask who’s upstairs. She tells them it’s the doctor and Reynolds is in the parlor smoking a cigar. Reynolds faked being sick again to get Anne back. The doctor passed out from the stress. Reynolds tells Jonathan and Anne that Gloria and her mother saw the picture in the paper and took the first train back home. You can see on Jonathan’s face he is happy they are gone. The movie ends with a happy ending.

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2 Responses to It Started With Eve

  1. vp19 says:

    Margaret Tallichet’s career was championed by her good friend Carole Lombard, and while her acting career never quite took off, she did marry noted director William Wyler

    Like

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