Tangible evidence of the oft repeated press agents' blurb, "You'll laugh and you'll cry", is found in: Three Smart Girls, starring that remarkable youngster, Deanna Durbin. Whatever mistakes may have been made in the earlier portions of the film are compensated for in the cleverly built up climax, which "packs a strong emotional wallop".
Originally scheduled as a Class B picture, "Three Smart Girls" began to show potentialities about three quarters of the way through production, with the result that Universal expended a considerable sum retaking old scenes and shooting new ones. In their revamping process the producers overlooked a strong inconsistency in the character of the father of the girls. Appearing first in the stock comedy role of the middle aged man in love with a young charmer, he was an entirely ludicrous figure of the Keystone Cop variety. Later, when the film was expanded he developed into a definite individual, warm and somehow appealing. Had his earlier portrayal been toned down, the picture would more clousaly have approached the perfection claimed by its exponents.
The story of children of divorced parents, their hardships, and their attempts to reconcile their elders is not a particularly new theme--and it can be deadly if the soft soap is laid on too thick. Yes so charming is the naivete of the three smart girls who plot to get rid of "The other woman" and pave the way to reconciliation between their parents, that an air of reality is lent this plot which otherwise might well have been left in moth balls.
For the individual the success or failure of the picture depends much on his reaction to Deanna Durbin.
Unfortunately, those who would enjoy seeing "Three Smart Girls" more than once at one sitting will be obliged to withstand the character deteriorating onslaughts of Shirley Temple in "Stowaway". This is a routine Temple film with the little blonde bombshell going through her usual paces accompanied by Robert Yound and Alice Faye. While Temple and Young appear to be almost contemporaries, Miss Faye upholds the adult end of the entertainment quite creditably.