First Love (1939)

84 mins | Musical | 10 November 1939

Director:

Henry Koster

Producer:

Joe Pasternak

Cinematographer:

Joseph Valentine

Production Designer:

Jack Otterson

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Co.
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HISTORY

Pre-release titles of the film were Cinderella , and After Schooldays . Charles Perrault's fairy tale was not acknowledged as the basis for the film, although it loosely follows many of the incidents of his work, as most reviews pointed out. According to a news item in HR , June Storey was borrowed from Republic for the film. A MPD news item on 20 Apr 1939 noted that Universal was planning to make Cinderella as its first Technicolor feature, the picture was ultimately made in black-and-white, however. First Love marked Robert Stack's film debut. Reviews and publicity for the film noted that it was also the first film in which popular juvenile star Deanna Durbin was kissed. The picture was nominated for Academy Awards in the Art Direction and Music (Scoring) categories.
       Other filmed versions of Perrault's fairy tale include a 1914 Famous Players Film entitled Cinderella , directed by James Kirkwood and starring Mary Pickford (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1. 0690); a 1950 animated Walt Disney feature of the same name; a 1955 M-G-M musical version, directed by Charles Walters and starring Leslie Caron, entitled The Glass Slipper ; a 1960 Paramount film called Cinderfella , that was directed by Frank Tashlin and starred Jerry Lewis in the title role; and a 1976 British production entitled The Slipper and the Rose , directed by Bryan Forbes, starring Richard Chamberlain and Gemma Craven. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II also wrote a musical play based on the story that was first shown on ... More Less

Pre-release titles of the film were Cinderella , and After Schooldays . Charles Perrault's fairy tale was not acknowledged as the basis for the film, although it loosely follows many of the incidents of his work, as most reviews pointed out. According to a news item in HR , June Storey was borrowed from Republic for the film. A MPD news item on 20 Apr 1939 noted that Universal was planning to make Cinderella as its first Technicolor feature, the picture was ultimately made in black-and-white, however. First Love marked Robert Stack's film debut. Reviews and publicity for the film noted that it was also the first film in which popular juvenile star Deanna Durbin was kissed. The picture was nominated for Academy Awards in the Art Direction and Music (Scoring) categories.
       Other filmed versions of Perrault's fairy tale include a 1914 Famous Players Film entitled Cinderella , directed by James Kirkwood and starring Mary Pickford (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1. 0690); a 1950 animated Walt Disney feature of the same name; a 1955 M-G-M musical version, directed by Charles Walters and starring Leslie Caron, entitled The Glass Slipper ; a 1960 Paramount film called Cinderfella , that was directed by Frank Tashlin and starred Jerry Lewis in the title role; and a 1976 British production entitled The Slipper and the Rose , directed by Bryan Forbes, starring Richard Chamberlain and Gemma Craven. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II also wrote a musical play based on the story that was first shown on CBS Television in 1957. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Nov 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Nov 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
20 Apr 39
p. 1, 8
Motion Picture Daily
6 Nov 39
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
28 Oct 39
p. 60.
Motion Picture Herald
4 Nov 39
p. 46.
New York Times
9 Nov 39
p. 13.
Variety
8 Nov 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Henry Koster Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
Voice instructor
SOUND
Sd tech
SOURCES
LITERARY
Inspired by the fairy tale "Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre," by Charles Perrault in Histoires et contes du temps passé, avec moralities (Paris, 1697).
SONGS
"Home, Sweet Home," music by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop, lyrics by John Howard Payne
"Amapola," music by Joseph M. Lacalle, new English lyrics (1910) by Albert Gamse
"Spring in My Heart," from Johann Strauss waltzes, music adaptation by H. J. Salter, lyrics by Ralph Freed
+
SONGS
"Home, Sweet Home," music by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop, lyrics by John Howard Payne
"Amapola," music by Joseph M. Lacalle, new English lyrics (1910) by Albert Gamse
"Spring in My Heart," from Johann Strauss waltzes, music adaptation by H. J. Salter, lyrics by Ralph Freed
"One Fine Day (Un bel dí)," music by Giacomo Puccini, lyrics by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Cinderella
After Schooldays
Release Date:
10 November 1939
Production Date:
27 June--mid October 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co.
Copyright Date:
9 November 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9215
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5820
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Unlike her classmates, orphan Constance Harding is sorry to graduate from Miss Wiggins' school for girls because her only relatives, the wealthy James Clinton family, show little interest in her. They send their butler George to bring her to New York, however, and Connie finds herself in a household of self-centered Park Avenue snobs. Only the servants care about Connie, who enchants them with her sweetness and beautiful singing voice. One afternoon, Connie's cousin, Barbara Clinton, orders her to prevent socially prominent Ted Drake from going riding without her and Connie makes a fool of herself trying to keep Ted from leaving the stable grounds. When Barbara arrives, she sends Connie home, refusing to tell Ted that Connie is her cousin. Infatuated with Ted, Connie is overjoyed when she learns that the Drakes have invited the Clinton family to a ball. Because her only gown is her rather unfashionable graduation dress, the servants secretly pay for a new gown and evening slippers for her out of their own pockets. On the night of the ball, the selfish Barbara tells a lie to her mother Grace which results in Connie having to stay home. She is heartbroken, but the servants arrange to have the Clinton limousine stopped by Mike, the cook's policeman brother, and detained until midnight. Soon Connie is given a police motorcycle escort and the chief of police's car to rush to the ball, on condition that she leave by midnight. She is the sensation of the ball, captivating the audience with her singing, and Ted dances with her all evening, still unaware of her identity. After he kisses her, she suddenly realizes ... +


Unlike her classmates, orphan Constance Harding is sorry to graduate from Miss Wiggins' school for girls because her only relatives, the wealthy James Clinton family, show little interest in her. They send their butler George to bring her to New York, however, and Connie finds herself in a household of self-centered Park Avenue snobs. Only the servants care about Connie, who enchants them with her sweetness and beautiful singing voice. One afternoon, Connie's cousin, Barbara Clinton, orders her to prevent socially prominent Ted Drake from going riding without her and Connie makes a fool of herself trying to keep Ted from leaving the stable grounds. When Barbara arrives, she sends Connie home, refusing to tell Ted that Connie is her cousin. Infatuated with Ted, Connie is overjoyed when she learns that the Drakes have invited the Clinton family to a ball. Because her only gown is her rather unfashionable graduation dress, the servants secretly pay for a new gown and evening slippers for her out of their own pockets. On the night of the ball, the selfish Barbara tells a lie to her mother Grace which results in Connie having to stay home. She is heartbroken, but the servants arrange to have the Clinton limousine stopped by Mike, the cook's policeman brother, and detained until midnight. Soon Connie is given a police motorcycle escort and the chief of police's car to rush to the ball, on condition that she leave by midnight. She is the sensation of the ball, captivating the audience with her singing, and Ted dances with her all evening, still unaware of her identity. After he kisses her, she suddenly realizes that it is midnight and runs away, narrowly missing Grace and Barbara, and loses one of her slippers on the staircase. While Ted is looking for its owner, Barbara realizes that Connie was at the ball. She goes home and confronts Connie, then makes up a story that Ted had merely been playing up to her for a gag. The next morning George informs Mr. Clinton that he is leaving because Barbara fired all of the servants and Connie has left. Enraged, Mr. Clinton finally lays down the law to his family and tells George that he must find Connie. Meanwhile, Connie returns to Miss Wiggins', hoping to become a music teacher. Miss Wiggins, realizing that Connie is trying to hide a broken heart, tells her to sing "One Fine Day" from Puccini's Madame Butterfly at an upcoming teacher's conference. While Connie performs the tragic love song, Ted arrives and takes her away, as Miss Wiggins smiles broadly. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.