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 »
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 »
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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 »
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 »
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 ... See full summary »
It's turn of the century America when Andrew and Veronica first meet - by crashing into each other. They develop an instant and mutual dislike which intensifies when, later on, Andrew is forced to hire Veronica as a saleslady at Oberkugen's music store. What the two don't know is that while they may argue and fight constantly throughout the day, they are actually engaged in an innocent, romantic and completely anonymous relationship by night, through the post office. Written by
The deleted song "Last Night When We Were Young" (music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. Harburg), sung by a heartbroken Judy Garland in her bedroom, already had been cut from an earlier picture: Metropolitan (1935), vocalized by Lawrence Tibbett, who also made a commercial recording for Victor. Miss Garland, after discovering the Tibbett record, considered this impassioned lament her favorite song. Judy's prerecording was issued on several albums by MGM Records over two decades, beginning in 1951 with the 10-inch LP "Judy Garland Sings." On CD, the audio is featured on the Rhino Handmade release of the soundtrack, which is paired with the score of Miss Garland's Summer Stock (1950). On three notable occasions, Miss Garland returned to "Last Night When We Were Young": together with acclaimed jazz pianist Joe Bushkin on her half-hour CBS-TV special (with Nelson Riddle serving as the arranger and conductor), broadcast the evening of October 8, 1956 on General Electric Theater (1953); for her best-selling Capitol album, released in October 1956, simply entitled "Judy," arranged and conducted by Mr. Riddle, the LP updated to a Collectibles CD which also contains Garland's 1955 Capitol album, "Miss Show Business"; and for the February 23, 1964 telecast of her CBS series, The Judy Garland Show (1963). See more »
When singing "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland", Veronica lifts the harp several times. Sometimes the bottom of the harp is plain wood, but sometimes it is covered with green felt. See more »
Certainly not the greatest of Judy Garland, but it's Judy Garland still.
I won't go into plot details, as it's been done by so many other reviewers before me. Instead, I'll just share my observations as a fan of classic musicals, and specifically of Judy Garland.
Personally, I think it was during 43-46 period when Judy looked and sounded the best. And incidentally, it was also the period when the classic MGM studio system was at the apex of its efficiency in churning out one great musical after another before its demise later in that decade.
In Good Old Summertime, one can't help but realize, with much regret, that the greatest period of the good old musical films and of Judy Garland was beginning to wane. And it is noticeable from quality of music scores and from changes in her appearance also.
Of course, it's still a very enjoyable movie, especially if you watched one of the other movies based on the same story. And Judy still looks amiable and sounds great even when she had to sing in such self-deprecating manner as in 'I Don't Care', which feels very different from other instances of similar comic approach of her previous films like 'When I Look at You' in Presenting Lily Mars, or 'Couple of Swells' from Easter Parade, for example.
Even though the movie is categorized as a musical, it's certainly not Harvey Girls where you can enjoy such trademark MGM scenes, like that big, complex sequence as 'Atchison Topika and the Santa Fe'.
Back then, the Freed Unit with so many talented actors and actresses were so efficient that they didn't need too many camera cuts or even extensive rehearsals to create a such captivating 20 min long sequence.
In Good Old Summertime, Judy Garland is almost the only person who sings, and there is no 'sequence' to talk of, as most of the numbers are done by her singing solo, except for the Barbershop Quartet and 'I Don't Care' numbers.
In general, songs are less memorable than those from her other movies. There's a Christmas song which Judy sings beautifully as usual, though it just isn't on par with 'Have Yourself a Merry Christmas' from Meet Me in St. Louis.
Judy still looks attractive, but not more so than in her earlier movies. Her personal troubles in real life begin to take their toll on her appearances by the time she appeared in this movie. Van Johnson is amiable, but he's certainly not her ideal partner in a musical film, as he can't really sing or dance like Mickey Rooney or Gene Kelly.
All in all, it's a still very enjoyable movie, but if you are a Judy Garland fan like me, you might want to try her other films first, preferably one from the 43-46 period, if you haven't seen them all already.
And when you have already seen most of them, and when you are sure to understand why people keep praising Judy Garland and her movies from her better days even today, then with a preparation of your mind for experiencing some regrets and pangs which might result from seeing her lesser self in a lesser kind of a musical, you are ready to enjoy this movie as a devote Judy Garland's fan.
It's something similar to what it requires to enjoy her late year recordings like the famous Carnegie Hall album. It pains to notice how she lost her range and her once impeccable vibrato became one that sounds artificial and forced.
But at least, it's Judy Garland and I believe that would suffice to enjoy it for most her ardent fans. As to what seems deficient, they can supplement it by their memories of what she has been in her prime time.
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