Tommy Williams desperately wants to get to Broadway, but as he is only singing in a spaghetti house for tips he is a long way off. He meets Penny Morris, herself no mean singer, and through... See full summary »
Tommy Williams desperately wants to get to Broadway, but as he is only singing in a spaghetti house for tips he is a long way off. He meets Penny Morris, herself no mean singer, and through her gets the idea to promote a show to send orphaned children on a country holiday. But he is only using the kids to get on himself, which Penny soon realises. With his romance off, an engagement in Philadelphia he can't get to, and, indeed, war in Europe, life can be difficult. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Shock over a minstrel show??? How do you think Al Jolson became famous?
This big MGM "let's put on a show" musical is obviously a showcase for the over-sized talents of JUDY GARLAND and MICKEY ROONEY.
But it amuses me to see young commentators expressing "shock" and dismay at the blackface routines shown in the big finale. They never knew how popular minstrel shows were, even into the 1940s? Where have they have been living? They never heard of Al Jolson and how he rode to stardom on his blackface routines?
The film actually rises above its clichéd plot whenever Judy takes the spotlight with a song. Never has she looked so radiantly youthful and vibrant. Rooney, while of course obviously talented, tends to ham it up a bit too much whenever he's given the spotlight, which is a little too often for my taste. Fay Bainter does nicely as a patron of the arts while James Gleason gets on the nerves with his frustrated bit as a producer.
Amusing to see gangly RICHARD QUINE hoofing it up (before he became a film director). The standout dancer is Ray MacDonald, the fresh faced kid who lights up the screen whenever he dances, resembling, in style and acting technique, Donald O'Connor. Tragically he, like others in the cast, ended his life much too soon.
Judy and Mickey do a fabulous version of "How About You?" and Buby Berkeley's genius at staging intricate dance routines is nowhere more evident than in the "Hoe Down" number, probably one of the catchiest of all the musical routines.
There are slow spots and the film could easily have omitted footage to pare it down to a running time of, say, an hour and forty minutes. As it is, you have to be willing to stick with it for the full two hours, something only likely to occur if you're a true fan of Garland and Rooney.
You can catch a brief glimpse of two up and coming stars, Margaret O'Brien and Donna Reed. Reed has a brief moment as a receptionist.
Trivia note: Shirley Temple was originally considered for the Virginia Wiedler role. Might have been OK too, since the part is not that demanding musically and Temple could certainly still do the required amount of hoofing.
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