Deanna Durbin was born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1921. Her parents were from Lancashire and became American citizens after they moved from Canada to California. It was whilst she was receiving singing lessons that Deanna (not her real first name) was discovered by a studio scout. She began her movie career at the age of 14. In this film "First Love" she was 17. Puccini's character Madame Butterfly was a teenager although the part is usually sung by mature singers. It would have been good to have seen Durbin in a film based on the opera rather than in this where the music is blended in with the plot of the romance. Apparently the Met was trying to persuade her into the opera world from the age of 15. I only knew of her because my dad was a great fan and I often saw the old films at home on the TV.
She retired from the film world at 29 and later said that she did not like the "Deanna character". She had no interest in some of the parts the studio (Universal-International at that time) was presenting to her. She said that she had not liked the "Hollywood system" and when she married (for the third time) and moved to France she refused to be involved in any more film projects. She is still alive, a widow, and will not give interviews or allow an official web site to be put up. She was raised a Baptist. One of her male co-stars later praised her character and integrity.