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Hers to Hold

Hers to Hold(1943)

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The working title of this film was Three Smart Girls Join Up. According to a March 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item, Universal's London office purchased a story by that title from Derek Bolton, a flyer with the RAF. Bolton is not credited onscreen or in reviews, however, and his contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed. Three Smart Girls Join Up was then slated to begin production in May 1942, but it was shelved until January 1943, when Universal announced that it had renamed the project Hers to Hold. This was the third and final film in Universal's "Three Smart Girls" series, which began in 1936 with Three Smart Girls and was followed in 1939 by Three Smart Girls Grow Up (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4623 and F3.4624). While actors Deanna Durbin, Charles Winninger and Nella Walker reprised their roles as "Penelope, Judson and Dorothy Craig," characters "Kay and Joan Craig," the two eldest daughters, were dropped for the final entry in the series.
       Actor Joseph Cotten was borrowed by Universal from David O. Selznick for the film, and according to Hollywood Reporter, this was one of nine projects offered to Cotten at that time. According to Universal press information, portions of the film were shot on location at the Vega Aircraft Factory in Burbank, CA. These scenes were shot on Sundays, so that filming would not interfere with the plant workers' regular schedule. Press information also states that Deanna Durbin actually gave blood during the filming of the blood bank sequence. The home movie sequence in the picture is made up of footage from previous Universal Deanna Durbin films, including Three Smart Girls, Three Smart Girls Grow Up, Mad About Music and It's a Date (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2185, F3.2637, F3.4623 and F3.4624). Hollywood Reporter news items include Mary Treen in the cast, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The song "Say a Prayer for the Boys Over There" by Jimmy McHugh and Herb Magidson was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Song, but lost to "You'll Never Know" by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon from the Twentieth Century-Fox film Hello Frisco, Hello (see entry above). According to modern sources, Hers to Hold was one of the top moneymaking films of 1943.