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Roy Del Ruth
Light bio-pic of American Broadway pioneer Jerome Kern, featuring renditions of the famous songs from his musical plays by contemporary stage artists, including a condensed production of ... See full summary »
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Mickey Moran, a talented singer and musician, son of a veteran from the show business. Mickey has a partner, Patsi Barton, a pretty girl and also a very talented singer. One day, a big opportunity arrives for Mickey, a big contract to set up his own show. However, things don't go well, and in order to avoid being sent to a work farm, he'll improvise a show in the country, despite the awful weather conditions. Patsi's in love with Mickey, he loves her too, but for him the show must go on, and his big dream maybe will come true: formally stage his play in a big scenario, with a huge production. Written by
During the girls' duet, Patsy Barton begins her solo, and Mickey Moran switches from cello plucking to piano thumping. However, the music continues as it was before, and we don't hear any amazing sounds on the piano in spite of Mickey's efforts. See more »
Play day is done, we must wait in the sun, we must fight for. So babes in arms to arms!
To arms! To arms, babes in arms!
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A Wild and Uneven Ride with a highly caffeinated Mickey Rooney
Wow, I just finished watching "Babes in Arms", and my head is spinning. We old movie fans are used to seeing ethnic humor and even the occasional bit of blackface in early Hollywood films; but what "Babes in Arms" gives us is outrageous by any definition: an entire cast of a "show within a show", numbering at least 50 to 75 people, including Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, every one in blackface, performing not just a minstrel skit, nor a single musical number, but an entire 20 minute full-blown minstrel show in spectacular MGM full-production mode. It goes on and on and on. Dialect jokes. Banjoes and songs about Alabammy. And finally, Judy Garland, having removed her blackface, comes out and performs an additional number ("I'm Just Wild About Harry") as an only slightly darkened black woman. Wow.
On the other hand, is it really possible that the manic Mickey Rooney was only 19 when he made this? He really shows why he may be the single most talented American performer of the last century. He dances, he sings, he does drama, he does comedy, and he has incredible control over his every move and muscle. And he does unbelievable and hilarious impressions of Clark Gable and Lionel Barrymore. And Franklin Roosevelt.
A few quick notes: June Priesser, who plays "Baby" Rosalie, was a terrible actress. But watch out for her stomach-churning contortionist back-rolls when she first comes out on a stage.
The child actor who plays Mickey Rooney at age 5 dancing on a Vaudeville stage for a few moments early on really does look like Mickey Rooney!
I think Judy Garland actually has some of the same lines in this movie as she does in "Wizard of Oz", done in this same year. Watch out for when Mickey Rooney feints early in the film; Garland reacts to this exactly, and I mean exactly, as she does in Oz when the Lion feints. Eerie!
When Judy Garland, as Eleanor Roosevelt, sings "My day, my day", she is referring to an actual long-running newspaper column written by E.R. from 1936 to 1962.
Finally, the final song and dance number is the most mind-numbing, over-the-top tribute to America, dancing, how we are not Nazis, American Indians, Asian Indians, dancing, the Roosevelts, and dancing, that I have ever seen. Yes, it was early WWII, but still, you wonder if anyone even in 1939 thought this was a little too much?
Recommended for its high energy, its Rooney and Garland, its more Rooney, its offensiveness, and its too much of everything. It is history, and should be watched by all.
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