His Butler's Sister is a silly little Deanna Durbin vehicle, but if its charms are modest, they are nonetheless very real. Chief among those charms, of course, is La Durbin herself. She's a curious creature, an actress with a diva-like soprano yet a most un-diva-like personality. "Girl next door" doesn't begin to describe her wholesome appeal, and yet she's not corn-fed; there's an air of quiet sophistication about her, and the combination of her qualities makes her perhaps the most plain likeable of all the screen's operatic stars. Her appeal is put to good use in Sister, wherein men are tripping all over themselves minutes after meeting her; it's not because of her beauty (although she's certainly attractive), it's because she's so gosh-darn fun to be with. Durbin also gets to show off her beautiful voice, of course (even if she has to wear a hideous outfit to do so in one sequence), and if the screenplay doesn't give her then most sparkling of dialogue, it's still more than decent. Franchot Tone seems a bit uninvolved, but Pat O'Brien more than makes up for this, as does the excellent supporting cast. Frank Borzage directs with style and skill, and all adds up to a lightweight but enjoyable little trifle.
by Craig Butler review