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Hers to Hold (aka Three Smart Girls Join Up) is a 1943 American romantic musical comedy film and is the third film in the unofficial Three Smart Girls trilogy.[2] In Hers to Hold, Deanna Durbin reprises her role as Penny Craig, who is the only sister remaining at home.[3]

Hers to Hold
Hers to Hold 1943 Poster.jpg
Directed byFrank Ryan
Produced byFelix Jackson
Screenplay byLewis R. Foster
Music byFrank Skinner
CinematographyElwood Bredell
Edited byTed J. Kent
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • July 16, 1943 (1943-07-16) (USA)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.7 million (US rentals)[1]



Vega Aircraft Corporation employees pilot Bill Morley (Joseph Cotten), a former Flying Tiger is awaiting commissioning with the United States Army Air Forces. Along with his sidekick Rosey (Gus Schilling), he is donating blood for the American Red Cross. During their mandatory rest period following the donation, the pair sight a bevy of photographers following singing socialite Penny Craig (Deanna Durbin) giving her donation. As all donors are given the temporary use of hospital white coats, wolf bachelor Bill sees his chance to get Penny's address and details by impersonating a doctor.

Bill continues his doctor charade when he and Rosey crash a society soiree held by Penny's parents. Penny decides to get her revenge by attempting to humiliate Bill by turning him over to one of the Craig family's raving hypochondriac friends and introducing him to a real medical professional. The embarrassed but still cool Bill takes his leave but not before publicly kissing Penny. Penny instantly falls in love with Bill and tracks him down by getting a job herself at the Vega Aircraft Factory as a riveter that also satisfies her desire to help the war effort.

Between working and singing, Penny schemes to keep Bill from going on active service and although Bill is slowly finding his way with Penny he is afraid of leaving her a widow during World War II.



Hers to Hold was originally planned to be filmed in 1942 and titled Three Smart Girls Join Up to be directed by Jean Renoir with a screenplay by Paul Gallico and Richard J. Collins. The pair were replaced when the producer felt that the film should be about the relationship of the three Craig sisters at home rather than the submitted screenplay about Penny's relationship with the other workers at the aircraft plant.[4] Production was delayed until 1943 with the title changed as the screenplay concentrated on Penny's romance with a flier and Penny being the only one of the Craig sisters to appear in the film; a line in the screenplay mentions that she will write letters to her unseen sisters.[5] Reference to the other films of the series appear as Penny's father shows home movies of scenes from those films.

Hers to Hold was shot on location at the Vega Aircraft Factory in Burbank, California on Sundays to avoid disruption of aircraft manufacture [6] and at the Lockheed Air Terminal,[7] The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress shown being built in the film flew several combat missions with the Eighth Air Force over Europe where it was named Tinkertoy. Tinkertoy was considered a "jinx ship" that no one wanted to fly in due to its crews taking an unusual amount of frequent and gruesome deaths.[8][N 1]


  • Seguidilla

from Carmen
Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
Sung by Deanna Durbin

Written by Cole Porter
Sung by Deanna Durbin

  • Say a Prayer for the Boys Over There

Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Herb Magidson
Sung by Deanna Durbin

Music by Amy Woodforde-Finden
Lyrics by Lawrence Hope
Sung by Deanna Durbin


A contemporary review in Variety, noted that "In 'Hers to Hold', Deanna Durbin successfully and permanently completes transition from cinematic sub-deb to young ladyhood. ... Durbin again demonstrates capabilities in carrying acting responsibilities of lead, with her four song numbers neatly spotted along the way." The review also indicated, "Story, although lightly contrived, generates audience attention through the deft business generously inserted in the script and carried through via direction." [10]

Although concentrating on the aviation aspects of the production, aviation film historian James M. Farmer in Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation (1984), characterized that Hers to Hold (was) "a lightweight formula romance."[11]


The song "Say a Pray'r for the Boys Over There" from Hers to Hold was nominated for Best Song at the 16th Academy Awards.[12]



  1. ^ Tinkertoy was lost in a mission over Germany on December 20, 1943.[9]


  1. ^ "Top Grossers of the Season", Variety, 5 January 1944 p 54
  2. ^ "Review: 'Hers to Hold'." FilmAffinity, 2019. Retrieved: July 7, 2019.
  3. ^ "Overview: 'Hers to Hold' (1943)." IMDb, 2019. Retrieved: July 7, 2019.
  4. ^ Ceplair 2007, p. 302.
  5. ^ Henderson 2017, p. 45.
  6. ^ Pseudonum: "Maestro". "Review: 'Hers to Hold'.", December 22, 207. Retrieved: July 7, 2019.
  7. ^ Michael 1980, p. 118.
  8. ^ Kaplan 2017, p. 247.
  9. ^ Beck 2016, p. 113.
  10. ^ "Review: 'Hers to Hold'.", 2019. Retrieved: July 7, 2019.
  11. ^ Farmer 1984, p. 314.
  12. ^ "The 16th Academy Awards (1944) Nominees and Winners.", 2019. Retrieved: July 7, 2019.


  • Beck, Simon D. The Aircraft-Spotter's Film and Television Companion. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2016. ISBN 9-781476-663494.
  • Ceplair, Larry. The Marxist and the Movies: A Biography of Paul Jarrico. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2007. ISBN 978-0-81312-453-7.
  • Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation (1st ed.). Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: TAB Books, 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
  • Henderson, Stuart.The Hollywood Sequel: History & Form, 1911-2010. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017. ISBN 978-1-84457-651-7.
  • Kaplan, Philip. With Wings as Eagles: The Eighth Air Force in World War II. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2017. ISBN 978-1-51070-510-4.
  • Michael, Paul. The Great American Movie Book. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1980. ISBN 978-0-13363-663-5.

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