In 1936, Universal Studios took a chance on a young girl singer named Deanna Durbin, first showcasing her in the beloved "Three Smart Girls", a movie which reversed the studio's flagging fortunes and established Deanna Durbin as the reigning juvenile box office star. Playing Penny, the youngest of the Craig sisters, she stole moviegoers hearts with her charming performance and soaring soprano voice. Three years later, Durbin returned for the first of two sequels - THREE SMART GIRLS GROW UP (1939).
The story opens during Penny's very first society party, where eldest sister Joan (Nan Grey) announces her engagement to long-time beau Richard (William Lundigan). Everyone greets the news with delight, except middle sister Kay (Helen Parrish) who, Penny later discovers, harbours a strong infatuation for her prospective brother-in-law. Resolving to find a husband for lovesick Kay, Penny recruits one of her musician friends, Harry (Bob Cummings); but the plan backfires when Joan starts taking an interest instead!
This adorable romantic comedy delivers more "Three Smart Girls" magic, complete with most of the original cast (Nan Grey as Joan, Charles Winninger and Nella Walker as the Craig parents). The only major replacement is Helen Parrish--one of Durbin's close friends of the time--who took over the role of middle sister Kay from original actress Barbara Read.
Musical-wise, the film gets off to a cracking start with Durbin singing "Invitation to the Dance" during Penny's first society ball; the other songs include "La Capinera (The Wren)", and "The Last Rose of Summer".
The Craig family saga would come to a fitting end in 1943 with "Hers to Hold". THREE SMART GIRLS GROW UP is a heartwarming family comedy everyone is sure to love.