6.5/10
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37 user 13 critic

Babes in Arms (1939)

A group of vaudevillians struggling to compete with talkies hits the road hoping for a comeback. Frustrated to be left behind, all of their kids put on a show themselves to raise money for the families and to prove they've got talent, too.

Director:

Busby Berkeley

Writers:

Jack McGowan (screen play), Kay Van Riper (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rooney ... Mickey Moran
Judy Garland ... Patsy Barton
Charles Winninger ... Joe Moran
Guy Kibbee ... Judge Black
June Preisser ... Rosalie Essex
Grace Hayes ... Florrie Moran
Betty Jaynes ... Molly Moran
Douglas McPhail Douglas McPhail ... Don Brice
Rand Brooks ... Jeff Steele
Leni Lynn ... Dody Martini
Johnny Sheffield ... Bobs (as John Sheffield)
Henry Hull ... Madox
Barnett Parker ... William
Ann Shoemaker ... Mrs. Barton
Margaret Hamilton ... Martha Steele
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Storyline

Mickey Moran, a talented singer and musician, is son of a veteran from show business. Mickey has a partner, Patsy Barton, a pretty girl and also a very talented singer. One day, a big opportunity arrives for Mickey, a big contract to set up his own show. However, things don't go well, and in order to avoid being sent to a work farm, he'll improvise a show in the country, despite the awful weather conditions. Patsy's in love with Mickey, he loves her, too, but for him the show must go on, and his big dream maybe will come true: to formally stage his play in a big scenario, with a huge production. Written by Alejandro Frias

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The big musical fun show!

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los hijos de la farándula See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$748,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The parody sequence, "My Day," featuring Mickey Rooney as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Judy Garland as First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, was removed from the negative after the president's death on April 12, 1945. The routine, for many years thought to be lost, was rediscovered on 16-millimeter film and now can be viewed on Warner Home Video's DVD, "The Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection." See more »

Goofs

Henry Hull's character is listed as "Madox" in the on-screen cast list. However, the name is spelled "Maddox" when it is shown a few times, for example on the theater signs and his office door. See more »

Quotes

Mickey Moran: Listen, are you kids willing to stick together and pull yourselves out of a hole?
[all the kids answer affirmatively]
Mickey Moran: I've got an idea. Our folks think we're babes in arms, huh? Well, we'll show 'em whether we're babes in arms or not. I'm gonna write a show for us and put it on right here in Seaport. Why, it'll be the most up-to-date things these hicks around here have ever seen. Opening night we'll have Max Gordon, Sam Harris, Lee Schubert, down to give us the once-over. How about it, kids?
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer-colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

I Like Opera/I Like Swing
(1939) (uncredited)
Composer unknown
Performed by Judy Garland and Betty Jaynes
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Well you have to admit -- it took a hurricane to stop me."
30 May 2015 | by utgard14See all my reviews

The children of struggling vaudeville stars decide to put on a musical show to save their homes. Yes, it's a Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland "let's put on a show" musical. Their first such movie, I think, and probably their most famous. Mickey & Judy are great. Mickey does Lionel Barrymore and Clark Gable impressions that are a hoot. He also has a fight scene in a drug store which is amusing. The supporting cast is made up of fine character actors like Guy Kibbee, Charles Winninger, and Henry Hull. Adorable June Preisser steals every scene she's in. Margaret Hamilton plays the villain, a busybody who tries to get the kids taken away from their parents. Garland & Hamilton filmed this right after Wizard of Oz, by the way. Interestingly, this was actually a bigger hit at the box office than Oz was in 1939.

Most of the songs are nice but none wowed me. Several classic Rodgers & Hart tunes from the Broadway musical this was based on are either omitted altogether or featured too briefly to make an impact. An ear-splitting operatic version of "You're My Lucky Star" by Betty Jaynes is probably the worst song in the movie. Judy's "I Cried for You" is best. Salute to minstrel shows with cast members in blackface will upset some so prepare yourself if you're one of them. Directed by Busby Berkeley, as evidenced by his distinct touches on the "God's Country" closing number. Speaking of which, that number has Mickey & Judy satirizing FDR & Eleanor. After FDR's death this part was cut out of future showings and it remained that way until the '90s. It's a lively number and the added historical value is a plus. Good old-fashioned fun. Charming, innocent, and yes, a little corny, but an enjoyable movie overall.


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