On a train trip West to become a mail order bride Susan Bradley meets a cheery crew of young women traveling out to open a " Harvey House " restaurant at a remote whistle stop to provide ... 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... See full summary »
Rich kid Danny Churchill (Rooney) has a taste for wine, women and song, but not for higher education. So his father ships him to an all-male college out West where there's not supposed to ... See full summary »
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 »
Discovery by Flo Ziegfeld changes a girl's life but not necessarily for the better, as three beautiful women find out when they join the spectacle on Broadway: Susan, the singer who must ... See full summary »
Talented small-town girl Lily Mars hounds producer John Thornway for a part in his new play, but he doesn't want anything to do with stage-struck amateurs. But when Lily follows him to New ... See full summary »
Anne Parkson feels neglected by her lawyer-husband Ted, so she falls in love with night-club owner Tony Arnello, a shady character who is a client of her husband's. This being a MGM picture... See full summary »
Major Joppolo and his men are assigned to restore order to the war-torn Italian town of Adano. He has to manage getting supplies into town without interfering with troop movements, all the ... See full summary »
On a train trip West to become a mail order bride Susan Bradley meets a cheery crew of young women traveling out to open a " Harvey House " restaurant at a remote whistle stop to provide good cooking and wholesome company for railway travellers. When Susan and her bashful suitor find romance daunting, Susan joins the Harvey Girls instead. The saloon across the street with its alluring worldly-wise women offers them tough competition, fair and foul, and Susan catches the eye of the Ned Trent, the distant but intense proprietor of the bar. Written by
Michael Meigs <Michael.Meigs@dos.us-state.gov>
The setting of the story in "Sandrock" and the design of the Harvey House sets that stood on MGM's Back Lot #3 and on the sound stage for this film were inspired by the Castaneda Harvey House in Las Vegas, New Mexico, which still stands as a National and State Historic Landmark of New Mexico, along the old Santa Fe tracks and just to the north of that town's current Amtrak station. Amtrak's Southwest Chief still stops at the station, but the Castaneda is vacant and fenced off. Although the studio sets were constructed of wood, elements from the Castaneda's basic exterior architecture and of the interior dining room were applied to the set designs for this film. A few of the historic incidents that had occurred at the Castaneda were incorporated into the script. A large outcrop of rock such as that where Susan Bradley (Judy Garland) and Ned Trent (John Hodiak) meet can be seen from the Castaneda across a small prairie. The balcony upon which Garland, Cyd Charisse and Virginia O'Brien share a song is a replication of the Castaneda's street-side second-floor balcony. And yes, a saloon once existed directly across the street from the Castaneda in a building which is now abandoned. All of the sets from the The Harvey Girls (1946) were built in Culver City, California; most of them utilizing existing western street buildings on the back lot; using the Castaneda and Las Vegas, New Mexico, only as a blueprint for elements in the script and for set design. However, the Castaneda and much of Las Vegas, New Mexico, would later be used as an actual location in Red Dawn (1984). See more »
There are several references to "Flagstaff" (AZ) as a town further up the line from "Sandrock". It is referred to as a mining town. Flagstaff never had mines and was a lumbering town. Also, the scenery in the movie (agave, saguaro cactus) is typical of southern New Mexico and Arizona, but the ATSF ran across northern New Mexico and Arizona through quite different scenery. See more »
[talking to Susan Bradley]
I sent my picture into one of those Lonely Hearts Clubs and they sent it back, saying "We're NOT that lonely!"
See more »
Splendid example of the well-crafted musicals dished out of MGM's golden bowl
"The Harvey Girls" is a splendid example of a well-crafted Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical from a time when well-crafted musicals were being dished out in abundance from Metro's golden bowl.
Inspired by the revolutionary success of "Oklahoma" on Broadway and tailored to fit the protean talents of it's young leading lady, Judy Garland, the film tells the story, in words and music, of a group of waitresses brought west in the late 1800's to open another link in the Fred Harvey chain of restaurants. In the process, they encounter all kinds of romantic and dramatic conflicts. The cast is headed by Judy Garland, fresh from her triumph in the blockbuster musical "Meet Me In St. Louis" and her quietly moving dramatic performance in "The Clock". During the filming of "The Harvey Girls", Garland was one of the top box-office draws in the nation, and Hollywood's most versatile actress. She performs the role of Susan Bradley, an adventurous mail order bride who befriends the Harvey girls en route to New Mexico, with a vibrant comic touch. Her ability to combine tongue in cheek humor with her signature vulnerability is very satisfying in this film, and is an early highlight in her already legendary career.
The rest of the cast is first-rate: Angela Lansbury gives a wickedly fine performance as Em, the jaded dance-hall queen with hooded eyes and no-flies-on-me attitude. John Hodiak is the local tough guy and dance-hall owner, and also the object of Garland and Lansbury's affections. Broadway legend (and Garland's "Wizard of Oz" co-star) Ray Bolger does an amusing turn as the town's rubber legged blacksmith, and Preston Foster is the murderous Judge Purvis. The ranks of the Harvey girls are filled by some of Hollywood's most marvelous character actresses, including Marjorie Main and Virginia O'Brien, and the dancer Cyd Charisse in one of her first roles.
The film boasts what New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther appreciatively called "an abundance of chromatic spectacle and an uncommonly good score", the centerpiece of which is the Academy Award-winning song of the year (1946), "On The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe". This production number fills the screen with the colorful bustle of singers, dancers, and horses, and in the best Broadway tradition, advances the plot by introducing almost every cast member and giving them the opportunity to tell their story, in song, and their motivation for coming west in the first place. A spectacular bit of Golden Age musical magic, topped off by Garland's star turn entrance and full-throated belting of the Johnny Mercer/Harry Warren song.
The creative team behind this fable is as impressive as the talent in front of the camera. In addition to the score by Mercer and Warren, the film was directed by George Sidney ("Show Boat", "Annie Get Your Gun"), produced by Arthur Freed ("Singin In The Rain", "Gigi"), art directed by Cedric Gibbons ("The Great Zeigfeld", "The Wizard of Oz"), with musical direction by Lennie Hayton, orchestrations by Conrad Salinger, and musical arrangements by "Eloise" children's book author and singer Kay Thompson (a decade before she sizzled onscreen as the fashion magazine editor in the Audrey Hepburn classic "Funny Face").
This film will include restored Technicolor and stereo sound on DVD, and also a few musical numbers which were cut when the film was released due to length, and have been locked away in the MGM vaults. Now they have been restored, and the viewer can enjoy more of what film critic Howard Barnes called "a great big animated picture postcard."
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