ⓘ Every Sunday


ⓘ Every Sunday

Every Sunday is a 1936 American short musical film. It tells the story of two adolescent girls and their efforts to save a public concert series, which was being threatened by poor attendance.

Directed by Felix E. Feist, the film served as a screen test for, and is the first significant screen appearance of, two adolescent actresses who soon became stars, Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin. Although only lightly reviewed at the time of its release, the film has garnered a generally positive reputation among Garland biographers.


1. Plot

Small town friends Edna Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland are upset. Ednas grandfather and his orchestra, who play free Sunday concerts at a local park, have been fired by the town council because the concerts are poorly attended. The girls hit upon the idea of singing at the concerts and set about promoting the next concert. The following Sunday Edna and Judy join Granddad on the bandstand. Ednas operatic style and Judys swing bring crowds running from all over the park. The event is a huge success and Granddads concerts are saved.


2. Production

Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland were both under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer but the studio had not put them to work in films. With their contracts coming up for renewal, feelings among studio executives were that the studio didnt need two girl singers. Every Sunday would serve as an extended screen test to decide which girls contract would be renewed.

Durbin recorded the aria Il Bacio for the film. Composers Con Conrad and Herb Magidson wrote a specialty number for Garland, "The Americana."

Following the screening of the short for MGM executives, opinion was divided on whether Garland or Durbin should be retained. Finally, Louis B. Mayer, upon his return from a European trip, decreed that both girls should be kept. However, Durbins contract option had expired by then. She was signed by Universal Studios, where her first picture, Three Smart Girls 1936, was so successful that it saved Universal from bankruptcy.


3. Critical reception

As a short film that served as a programmer, Every Sunday received scant critical attention upon its release. Durbins hometown newspaper, the Winnipeg Free Press, did praise the film, lamenting that it was "all too short" and citing Garland as a "girl singer of distinction."

Garland biographers, when discussing the film in any detail, are generally complimentary both to the film and to Garland. "Unpretentious and fascinating. Every Sunday gives us a marvelous glimpse of Judys talent in an unrefined state" is a typical comment, with the film "reveal how accomplished a performer Judy Garland already was at fourteen." Durbin does not fare quite as well. Although described by one biographer as appearing "relaxed" and "happy" on film others dismiss her "diffidence" and call her "stiff."