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Paul Whiteman and Orchestra
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Soldier Joe Allen is on a two-day leave in New York, and there he meets Alice. She agrees to show him the sights and they spend the day together. In this short time they find themselves falling in love with each other, and they decide to get married before Joe has to return to camp. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
It is, in a word, breathtaking. What I especially love is the duality of Robert Walker and Judy Garland: they are both simple, lonely souls who literally stumble over each other one day then get repeatedly teamed up in a series of seemingly innocent adventures (they ride a double decker bus; she shows him Central Park; he shows her an art museum)- each time attempting to part company but continuing to draw towards each other. When you analyze it, their courtship is almost fantastic, but the time of the film's 1945 release more than allows for the magic of budding romance. It is not really a sugary film; all the while the two leads communicate, you can see the improbability of their situation on their faces. When a milkman rescues them from being stranded at the end of a long date- and they wind up doing his milk route- they burst out laughing at their situation. It makes a later scene of a subway separation particularly heartbreaking, and its later reunion at a train depot breathtaking (I guarantee tears in your eyes)- and that's sort of what the movie's all about. In retrospect, it's a bit ironic to watch the young sweetness of Walker and Garland- two stars who had tragic, frequently unhappy existences. Their chemistry here as strangers who become friends who fall in love is mesmerizing. Ms. Garland does not sing, but her dark, exquisite eyes are music to the camera lens. Several bios have cited this film and MEET ME IN ST LOUIS as the two movies which captured Ms. Garland at her most beautiful, and I suspect that has something to do with the taste and artistry of the director- who was in love with (and would soon marry) his star. Grab immediately.
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