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Gregory La Cava
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Paul Whiteman and Orchestra
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As a favor to her actress sister Abigail, New England farmer Jane Falbury allows a group of actors use her barn as a theater for their play. In return, the cast and crew have to help her with the farm chores. During rehearsals, Jane finds herself falling for the show's director, Joe Ross, who also happens to be engaged to the show's leading lady-- Abigail. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Traditional New England contra dance tune
Played and danced to by the townspeople at the social
Swing version danced to by the stock company members, then by Gene Kelly and Judy Garland See more »
"When You Work For Mother Nature, You Get Paid By Father Time"
Summer Stock was the third and last pairing of Gene Kelly and Judy Garland by MGM. It's sad to think that there were no others because of Judy's personal problems. She would have a breakdown and would not be before the cameras again until four year later with A Star Is Born.
Judy barely got through Summer Stock. She had been replaced in Annie Get Your Gun by Betty Hutton and had not started Royal Wedding yet, but was also replaced there by Jane Powell. It was Gene Kelly's patience with her that got her through this film. Interesting also because Kelly was not known as the world's most patient man when working.
It was worth it because Summer Stock contains some of Judy's best musical moments. Most of the score was written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon, but someone was inspired at MGM to give Judy Get Happy by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. That is half of the team that wrote Over the Rainbow for her. Get Happy became another song identified with Judy Garland the rest of her life and into her legend.
But a favorite of mine is Howdy Neighbor. I do so love how that number is staged with Judy riding on a tractor through the fields and on the road near her farm. Catch her at the very end of the song and you can visibly see her breathing heavy. She was obviously under a strain doing this number and in fact the whole film.
Kelly doesn't do too bad either with a song that became identified with him, You Wonderful You. I still remember him singing it to Miss Piggy when guesting on the Muppets.
Summer Stock is another variation on a backstage romance and the discovery of hidden talent. Judy's sister Gloria DeHaven invites the cast and crew of her show to stay at their farm in Connecticut. But Judy's not happy with it. Of course Kelly charms her and discovers along the way who has the real talent in the family.
The film holds up well today and the talent of Judy Garland and Gene Kelly is absolutely eternal.
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