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A 17-year-old Jane Powell made her MGM debut as the daughter of widowed ambassador Walter Pidgeon in this charming, tune-packed musical. The studio launched its newest star with a strong package featuring guest performances by Jose Iturbi and Xavier Cugat and a second blonde leading lady in Ilona Massey. They even allowed Pidgeon, once a star in operettas, a rare chance to sing on-screen. But the show is Powell's all the way as she sings "Ave Maria," an adaptation of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto called "I Think of You," the art song "Les Filles de Cadix," and one of Jeanette MacDonald's most popular numbers, "Italian Street Song." MGM even brought in Stanley Donen to choreograph and gave her an on-screen boyfriend played by Roddy McDowell, a relationship that's shaken when she develops a crush on the much-older Iturbi. The studio had signed the young soprano in 1944, but loaned her to United Artists for her first two pictures. Then they assigned her to producer Joe Pasternak, who had made teen soprano Deanna Durbin one of the '30s' biggest stars at Universal Pictures. He would go on to produce some of Powell's most popular pictures, including A Date With Judy (1948) and Rich, Young and Pretty (1951).
By Frank Miller