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Subject: Deanna Durbin's box office supremacy: was: Re: Lily Pons
From: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 10 Nov 2018 02:57:41 -0500
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The Wizard of Oz - a timeless masterpiece, it must have been instantly successful, right?

Ah, but The Wizard of Oz was a complete box office failure in 1939. It would not be 
successful for twenty years until it played on television:

"The irony is that the movie was a box-office failure when it was first released by Metro-
Goldwyn-Mayer in August 1939. Budgeted at an immense $2 million - the average big 
budget M-G-M movie cost $1.5 million in 1939 - ''The Wizard of Oz'' actually cost 
$2,777,000. It didn't make its money back for nearly 20 years.Mar 16, 1983"
'WIZARD OF OZ': A TV SUCCESS STORY - The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/1983/03/16/movies/wizard-of-oz-a-tv-success-story.html 

Deanna Durbin's films were much more successful than Garland's. Beginning with "Three 
Smart Girls" in 1936, Durbin had hit after hit and was among the  highest paid women in 
Hollywood throughout her prime in the 1940s. Durbin made so much money for Universal 
that she is credited with saving the studio from Bankruptcy. 

According to Wikipedia referencing Variety: "In 1946, Durbin was the second-highest paid 
woman in the United States, just behind Bette Davis,and in 1947, she was the top-salaried 
woman in the United States. Her fan club ranked as the world's largest during her active 
years."

Unquestionably Garland had better new songs to sing than Durbin; Despite the box office 
disaster that "The Wizard of Oz" was, "Over The Rainbow" won the 1939 Academy Award. 
But none of that stopped Durbin from being a far bigger star even though she had to 
content herself with such drivel as "Nessun Dorma" :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FYLr2wqLbk

 

James Camner

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