Originally intended as a more serious film than it ended up, The Amazing Mrs. Holliday suffers a bit from its change in tone -- as well as from the ultimate replacement of Jean Renoir as director. It would have been interesting to see what Renoir might have done with the material had he seen it through from beginning to end, for his skill and delicacy might have softened some of Holliday's more awkward moments and given the final film a more consistent tone. Renoir also was quite adept at exploring the nuances that give life to individual characters and, more importantly, their relationships. As it is, Holliday hints at a greater depth that it never really plumbs. That said, the film is undeniably heartwarming and definitely has charm, even if it veers over into sentimentality rather too often. The implausibility of the script is also a bit of a problem, but fans of Deanna Durbin are unlikely to care too much about that. Durbin is in good voice and her pleasant personality, sweet looks, and engaging way with a line build up considerable good will among viewers. Barry Fitzgerald provides some fine comic relief and Edmond O'Brien handles the romantic element with aplomb. If less than classic, The Amazing Mrs. Holliday is an agreeable little trifle.
by Craig Butler review