It Started with Eve

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It Started with Eve
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Henry Koster
Produced by Joe Pasternak
Screenplay by
Story by Hanns Kräly
Music by Hans J. Salter
Cinematography Rudolph Maté
Edited by Bernard W. Burton
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • September 26, 1941 (1941-09-26) (USA)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English

It Started with Eve is a 1941 American musical romantic comedy film directed by Henry Koster and starring Deanna Durbin, Robert Cummings, and Charles Laughton.[1] The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Music Score (Charles Previn and Hans J. Salter).[2] The film is considered by some critics to be Durbin's best film, and the last in which she worked with the producer (Joe Pasternak) and director (Henry Koster) that groomed her for stardom. It Started with Eve was remade in 1964 as I'd Rather Be Rich.


The millionaire Jonathan Reynolds is dying. His son Johnny returns from Mexico City to the deathbed of his father. From Dr. Harvey he learns that his father does not have much time to live and that his last wish is to get to know Johnny's future wife. Johnny drives quickly to his hotel to find his fiance, Gloria Pennington. But there he learns that Gloria has left with her mother. Desperate to fulfill his father's wish, he asks the young Anne Terry if she could play Gloria for an evening. She agrees and goes with Johnny.

On the contrary, the old Jonathan feels much better than expected the next morning. He asks if he can see his son's fiance once again. Dr. Harvey is concerned about the health of his patient and asks Johnny to continue playing with the wrong Gloria. But Anne Terry wants to leave for her hometown in Ohio. Johnny caught her at the last minute at the station. When he comes home with Anne, Gloria and her mother have suddenly appeared there. Johnny tries to explain the situation. The opera singer, Anne, learns that old Jonathan has good contacts with the New York opera world and wants to take advantage of this opportunity. She makes the suggestion to give a party for the old Jonathan, where she can give a sample of her vocal ability. Johnny agrees but wants to introduce his father the right Gloria. He wants to tell the father that he and Gloria (Anne) are separated and his new girlfriend is the right Gloria. Anne asks him to wait until after the party; however, Johnny refuses.

The next evening Johnny informs his father about the separation. At this moment, Anne falls in and asks Johnny's forgiveness. Johnny is almost forced by his father to forgive her. When Jonathan leaves the room, he learns the true story through the ensuing loud dispute between Anne and Johnny. Gloria and her mother are now fully satisfied. Again, they see Johnny with Anne, and Johnny's mouth is covered by lipstick marks. Now it is enough for mother and daughter, so they leave again.

Finally comes the party. Jonathan is back in good health, and Johnny comes to the party with Gloria and her mother. He tells his father that Anne has a headache and cannot attend. Jonathan then sets off for Anne. He tells her that he knows the true story but wants to go out with her one last time. They go to a nightclub where they drink and dance together. When Johnny and Dr. Harvey come to the nightclub, she pours Johnny's drink in his face and leaves the pub.

The next day, Johnny caught Anne once again at the station to tell her that his father had once again had a heart attack and wanted to see her. When they arrive to the Jonathan's mansion, they realize that the heart attack was only pretended. He just wanted to bring Johnny and Anne back together. The two recognize their true feelings for each other, the fact that Jonathan takes with pleasure. He draws back enjoyably and smokes a forbidden cigar.



Joe Pasternak announced he would make Almost an Angel in 1938 as a vehicle for Danielle Darrieux. Ralph Bock and Frederick Kohner wrote a script.[4] Then in 1939 Franciscka Gaal was announced as star.[5] The film was eventually never made - the title was transferred to another project by Pasternak in 1940. Henry Koster was directed and L Fodor and Norman Krasna wrote the script.[6]

In February 1941 Charles Laughton signed on.[7] The following month Deanna Durbin agreed to co-star; plans to put her in Ready to Romance with Charles Boyer were abandoned.[8]

Filming started 27 May 1941, just after Durbin returned from honeymoon for her first marriage.[9]

Pasternak announced during filming that he would be leaving Universal after 16 years.[10]


In his review in The New York Times, Bosley Crowther called the film "light and unpretentious fare" and "should please—as they say—both young and old. It's the perfect '8-to-80' picture."[11] Crowther singled out the performances of Charles Laughton, who plays cupid, and Deanna Durbin. Crowther wrote:

Henry Koster, who directed the picture and has directed most of Miss Durbin's better films, certainly knew how to get the best out of Mr. Laughton, that man of great renown. For this is one of the sharpest performances the old boy has given in years ... Mr. Laughton plays with flavor, mischief, humor and great inventiveness. He knows how an old man would behave—and he never carries it too far. Under a perfect make-up, you'd hardly know it was Mr. Laughton—which is saying a lot.[11]

Regarding Durbin's performance, Crowther wrote, "Miss Durbin is as refreshing and pretty as she has ever been and sings three assorted songs—including a Tchaikovsky waltz—with lively charm."[11]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "It Started with Eve". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Awards for It Started with Eve". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Full cast and crew for It Started with Eve". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ Schallert, E. (1938, Aug 23). "Almost an angel" set for danielle darrieux. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. ^ Schallert, E. (1939, Jul 05). DRAMA. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. ^ By DOUGLAS W CHURCHILL Special to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1940, Dec 12). SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. ^ Universal plans program including 61 major offerings. (1941, Feb 11). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  8. ^ By DOUGLAS W CHURCHILLSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1941, Mar 21). Deanna durbin to appear with charles laughton in 'almost an angel' at universal. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  9. ^ Schallert, E. (1941, May 28). Koster will continue as durbin film guide. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  10. ^ By DOUGLAS W CHURCHILLSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1941, Jun 07). SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  11. ^ a b c Crowther, Bosley (October 3, 1941). "'It Started With Eve,' Featuring Durbin and Laughton". The New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]