For Me and My Gal (1942) Poster

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Underrated movie is wonderful!
godsnewworldiscoming-15 November 2006
Gene Kelly makes his smashing screen debut in For me and my gal. That alone should make it a must see. This movie was a delight for numerous reasons. First, I like the fact that this movie was a musical/drama. So, we were able to get a full dose of the manifold talents of Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. Second, the chemistry that Judy and Gene had in this movie was exceptional. The scene in which they are singing the title song is riveting. George Murphy was solid in his role as the amiable friend and colleague, who was a good example of selflessness.

This movie is not as renowned as other Garland classics such as the wizard of Oz and Meet me in St. Louis. However, I think this was her most endearing role. She was beautiful, sweet and vivacious in this movie. I can watch this movie repeatedly, and so should everyone else.
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I wanted to buy war bonds!
sweetty09244 January 2002
Though a thinly veiled piece of propaganda for WWII sentiment, it did the trick. I couldn't believe I cried not once but three times at this Kelly/Garland musical. An amusement park of a flick. With rollercoaster rides of joy, mood swings of sadness and insecurities, all rolled into a sappy feel good post-depression fluff. Who needs hormones when you can watch this. Great star vehicle for Kelly,it catapulted him into the rarified air of those who have talent, good looks, and that certain "something". Though at times he seems a bit in awe of his surroundings, it comes off as cockiness and works. Garland's sense of innocent security grounded this film and proved she was already in the stratosphere. The supporting cast held up their ends admirably. Enough to make this film enjoyable even in these jaded times.
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Kelly and Garland in a Fun but serious Film!
Sylviastel21 July 2011
Gene Kelly makes his film debut opposite Judy Garland in this film about vaudeville acts trying to make it big and falling in love too. They start off as partners in a vaudeville act but of course, they fall in love. The story takes place on the verge of American involvement in World War I. Judy's Jo Hayden is an aspiring singer who helps her kid brother study at medical school. When the war breaks out in Europe, he enlists. Just as things were getting good with a marriage and performing at the infamous Palace Theatre in New York City, bad news occurs which separates these two star-crossed lovers. World War I becomes a top priority as does cheering the spirits of the men who go off to battle. The songs and dance numbers are what makes the film. The story is weak but Garland and Kelly's acting talents bring it alive to the audience. The dance and singing sequences are worth watching for any Judy Garland fan. Supporting cast is first rate.
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A great musical
Calysta20 January 2000
The classic plot of girl refuses guy only to fall in love with him later is at work again. When the girl happens to be Judy Garland, one of the top box office draws and the MGM triple threat of extraordinarily talented singer, actress and dancer, it kind of changes the whole perspective. In the MGM heavens there are no leading men who can match her on screen stature.

To solve that problem, she gets two leading men. Before World War 1, the vaudeville girl has to choose between two partners. George Murphy and Gene Kelly. Fresh from Broadway success with "Pal Joey", Mr Kelly makes his movie debut in "For Me and My Gal" and it is nothing short of memorable. It was time the world saw that Hollywood dancers wore something other than white tails and top hat, like Mr Astaire.

The screenplay is slight. It hardly matters, because World War 1 is enough of a threat to forward the story anyway. All elements of drama and tear jerking romance are there. For a routine musical at MGM, we expect our happy 40s story, all complete with happy ending, plus the usual congenial mix of complications along the way. And with direction from Busby Berkley, great 1915s songs and two of the greatest musical stars in the mix, we certainly get our happy ending.

Today it stands out because of its musical quality and excellent conception of production. They certainly don't make 'em like this anymore.

Rating: 8/10
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What a Tearjerker!
Ash-6513 March 1999
If this movie was simply Gene Kelly and Judy Garland exchanging quips (the "Hello Springtime!" bit is especially good) and singing and dancing in a coffee shop, then it would still be entertaining. But that's really not all it is. This movie is more like a drama/romance than a musical, in the way that there are some songs, very good ones, but there is more story than numbers. Yes, the idea is an old one, but there are a few twists that distinguish it from any other wartime romance. (Don't go expecting The Maltese Falcon though.) The little plot weaknesses are forgotten as the actors (particularly Garland) hold it all together. I cried twice, and I almost never cry at movies. I fully recommend For Me and My Gal, unless you're dead-set on a tear-free day.
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"The Bells Are Ringing..........."
bkoganbing31 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Very few people have as auspicious debut in film as Gene Kelly did in For Me And My Gal. After a big success on Broadway in Pal Joey, Judy Garland pushed for him to be signed to an MGM contract and he was given to her as one of her leading men in this film. Kelly proved to be such a success in film that he next went back to Broadway in 1957 as a director of Flower Drum Song.

But even Judy or anyone else could not have predicted that Kelly would be the major creative dancing icon he became, the only real rival that Fred Astaire ever had in film. George Murphy who was Kelly's rival for Judy Garland in the film was a good song and dance man, but never created on the screen the way Kelly did.

In fact Murphy in his memoirs says that in the original ending he was supposed to wind up with Judy Garland instead of Kelly, that it was changed midpoint during shooting. Of course he didn't like that idea, but looking at the film, it so much works out for the better.

Still Judy is the star and she and the rest of the cast get to sing a whole bunch of songs from the teen years of the last century, some numbers identified with the World War I years. She plays a young aspiring Vaudevillian in an act with Murphy, Lucille Norman, and Ben Blue. Kelly is also an aspiring Vaudevillian who wants to rise in the profession, but he will do just about anything to insure that happens and even love for Judy can't quite put a curb on his ruthlessness.

In 1942 there will people in the audience who remembered Vaudeville and could reference easily what playing in the Palace Theatre in New York meant. For today's audience it would be the equivalent of a spot on David Letterman or the Tonight Show.

Busby Berkeley directed For Me And My Gal and while he did it with a sure hand, the really spectacular numbers he was noted for are strangely absent from this film. The musical scoring by Roger Edens and Georgie Stoll earned the film an Academy Award nomination in that category.

Gene Kelly not only made a film debut, but also a debut on record. He and Judy cut a 78 with the title song and a flipside duet of When You Wore A Tulip. Judy was contracted with Decca Records at the time and both sides later came out on albums. The original 78 would be quite a collector's item today.

For Me And My Gal is a nice period type musical, the kind that 20th Century Fox was more known for, but for which MGM did a fine job. The whole cast and crew took long bows for this one. In Vaudeville they would have gotten a whole lot of curtain calls.
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Gene Kelly shines in his debut, but Judy Garland is the sensation here
TheLittleSongbird12 September 2016
'For Me and My Gal' had so much going for it on paper, with the involvement of immensely talented people like Judy Garland, Gene Kelly and Busby Berkeley. It has its flaws, but when it's good it's fabulous and showcases the two stars brilliantly.

The story and script are admittedly slight and heavy in the clichés, complete with an ending that feels tacked on (and apparently it was, hardly surprising). The supporting cast's performances also don't compare to those of Kelly and Garland. Well George Murphy is good, he is very likable and charming, the problem is that he is underused and deserved more considering his talent. Ben Blue is unfunny and annoying however, and Marta Eggerth seemed out of place, am a fan of the operatic style of singing but there are far more beautiful voices than Eggerth's rather shrill and metallic sound and the singing doesn't really fit the style of the songs.

However, it is very difficult to be too hard on 'For Me and My Gal' because it fills me with so much joy and really does tug at the heart. The best thing about the film is Garland, who is absolutely sensational, with remarkably graceful dancing and as ever her voice is one you can listen to for hours and not get enough of. Her role here is also one of her most relatable and radiantly likable ones. Kelly may have had more endearing roles in his career, but he really shines in charm and technical skill in his debut where his material plays marvellously to his strengths. The two of them are simply magical together, and one is entranced every time they're on screen together or individually.

It is also a visually beautiful film. Technicolor it ain't, but it is not a film that cries out for it. The lavishness and elegant sumptuousness is still there and it is beautifully filmed. The songs are truly lovely, with the title song and "When You Wore a Tulip" standing out, and advantaged even further by top-notch direction and choreography by Berkeley (throughout, but especially in those two numbers), it may lack the kaleidoscopic style of his earlier films but never looks overblown or static, basically what cinema is all about.

While flawed, the story is still very charming, is lots of fun and there are also some genuinely touching parts that tug at the heart-strings. The pacing never feels dull, even with the slightness, which faces the danger of over-stretching and padding, and over-familiarity.

All in all, not a favourite but for fans of Kelly, Berkeley and especially Garland it is a must regardless of its issues. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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He's wrong and I love him. He's right and I love him
hitchcockthelegend23 September 2009
Harry Palmer is incredibly ambitious, and will do whatever it takes to get to the top of the vaudeville stage. Upon meeting the talented Jo Hayden, he succeeds in getting her to form a double act, but as Jo starts to get attached to Harry, he shows just how much he wants to get to the top, regardless of anyone else's feelings.

Tidy and delightful enough tale harking to the pre-WWI days of vaudevillian splendour. Starring Gene Kelly {Harry} in his first motion picture and Judy Garland {Jo} on effervescent form, it's a shame that this Busby Berkeley directed piece isn't the classic that it's stars and production numbers warrants. For Me And My Gal looks and feels like an excuse for MGM to show off, and as great as it is to see Garland and Kelly together {and it's rather joyous actually}, some numbers, particularly Garland's solo's fall a little flat. Yes the title number and the likes of Ballin The Jack are first rate efforts {Bobby Connolly dance directing and not Berkeley}, but counter that with the listless Till we Meet Again and it becomes an up and down picture relying on safe standards material to win us over.

The support cast are also straight out of averageville. It was no surprise to me to find out that Garland had George Murphy demoted to the support role of Jimmy Metcalf, thus giving his intended role as Harry to the ebullient Kelly. Because Murphy and Marta Eggerth {Eve Minard} are poor and frankly lack enthusiasm, something that may be applicable to the director also? However the film is saved by it's warmth {the ending is sure to soften the hardest of viewers} and the turn from Kelly. Oozing star quality and hinting at the ego that would drive his career on, Kelly lifts the film out of the threatening passivity. Nice solo on Tramp Dance and a fine duet with Ben Blue {Sid Simms} for Frenchie Frenchie {Oh Frenchy}, Kelly however does still have much to thank Garland for on their shared numbers. They have great chemistry, and as it turns out in the end, Garland was right to insist that Kelly be bumped up to lead man status. Mixed but certainly no time waster, hell the two leads alone demand a venture into it. 6.5/10
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Gene Kelly's entry into movies
theowinthrop3 July 2005
In 1943 Gene Kelly made "For Me And My Gal". It was a film starring that rising star of MGM Judy Garland, set in the years from 1915 - 1919. Garland wanted Kelly to appear in this film as her lover, Harry Palmer. It was an unusual film debut for Kelly, now recalled for his masterful dancing in musicals like "Singing In The Rain" and "An American In Paris". Instead, although it was a musical (using many tunes of the Tin Pan Alley period, it really was a character study. It looked at Kelly's opportunistic anti-hero, who does love Garland, but who is career centered to the point that he injures himself (he thinks it will be a slight injury) to avoid the draft.

It is a passably good film, due to the chemistry of the leads and such supporting film actors as Keenan Wynn (as Kelly's long suffering agent, who gets to tell him off), and George Murphy (as the would-be lover of Garland, who can't get her attention away from the unworthy Kelly).

The interest I have in the film is why Garland chose Kelly for this part. She apparently insisted that he be used for this film. The reason is that his biggest Broadway success was the 1941 show "Pal Joey", where he played the first anti-hero in Broadway history. Joey is a user of women, who wants to own a fancy nightclub in Chicago. He never rises above the sleazy dive he acts as M.C. at. He could be Harry Palmer's distant, slightly cousin. Garland would have seen Kelly play a role of a heel where he sang a golden flow of Rogers and Hart melodies, and do some good hoofing as well. It was the perfect "screen test" for Kelly to use to prove his ability to play Palmer. So he got his first role, and then went on to the major achievements of his career.
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grown-up Judy catches Gene in uniform
didi-524 July 2004
Notable for two things: the first adult role for Judy Garland (then just out of her teens), and debut of Gene Kelly, who had previously made an impact on Broadway as Pal Joey. George Murphy also appears as a kind of second-string lead, and one suspects much of his original part went to Kelly as filming progressed.

Directed by Busby Berkeley, but without his usual musical sequence flourishes, the plot is focused on the war, specifically the need for able-bodied men to serve rather than squander their lives on selfish pursuits. This means, for Kelly and Garland, putting aside their dreams of vaudeville fame as a team in favour of the greater good.

The stars have great chemistry – in their two duets, the title song and ‘If You Wore A Tulip', there is a gaiety and charm which would continue throughout their further collaborations through the forties. Garland shines as you always knew she would from her pictures as a child, and Kelly has the charisma in spades which would put him at the forefront of the golden age of musicals.
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Nostalgic musical drama has good roles for Judy and Gene...
Doylenf5 January 2007
The only aspect of FOR ME AND MY GAL that displeased me was the fact that GEORGE MURPHY (who was originally set to star opposite Judy in the Gene Kelly role) didn't have enough to do--and certainly his dancing talent is not seen to advantage here. MGM could have built up his role a little more.

But other than that, everything else about the film is right on track. JUDY GARLAND and GENE KELLY (in his first film) make a wonderful team, each complementing the other in a way that never makes it appear either one is trying to upstage the other performer. But let's face it--any time Garland is involved in a song or dance it's just plain hard to watch anyone else.

Released during the start of World War II, it's a look back at the nostalgic songs of World War I, and the most delightful scene occurs pretty early in the film--the coffee shop number to "For Me and My Gal", simple in execution (without a trace of Busby Berkeley's usual fancy stuff), but all the more charming for its simplicity.

It's the story of vaudeville entertainers. Kelly plays a brash young man (very much in the same vein as the man he played on Broadway in PAL JOEY), who's so intent on making it big in show biz that he deliberately avoids the draft by hurting his hand so that he's unable to be drafted. Animosity between him and his sweetheart grows when she learns the truth about his "accident". Of course, as in all such musicals of the '40s, all is resolved for a happy ending and the end of World War I.

It's handsomely produced in the MGM manner, in glorious B&W cinematography, a songfest for nostalgic tunes of the period, and guaranteed to please the fans of Judy and Gene.
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99% Guaranteed to make you cry
Dreamer-3625 May 1999
20 year old Judy Garland takes her first stab at adult acting in this great musical that naturally makes you cry. Before this 1942 debut, Judy had played those child/juvenile roles. (like Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz) Even a few years later, in 1944, she still played a 17 year old Esther Smith in Meet Me in St. Louis. Also, Gene Kelly, who will always credit Judy to abolish his "camera fright" has his movie debut in this movie. He, of course, was fresh off Broadway.

This movie is about a song and dance team in those "good old days of vaudeville", back in 1917, where Jo Hayden (Judy) teams up with Harry Palmer (Gene) as a song and dance team. However, when Jo senses unfaithfulness in Harry, she moves to performing soldiers out in France during World War I. It only worsens when Harry is drafted............

This was released when men were fighting out in the pacific and European theatres, and it was not pretty. Japanese and Nazi advances were at their extent, and MGM decided to make a movie to spark "patriotic" interest, with the abstract idea that you should enlist or buy war bonds. The first time I saw this, even I wanted to buy war bonds.

I recommend this movie to anyone because it will tug at your heart and make you really proud of the US.
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Kelly Debuts, Garland Shines, And America Goes To War
atlasmb12 July 2021
This was Gene Kelly's first foray into film, thanks to Judy Garland. Judy herself is only three years beyond "The Wizard of Oz" and at the top of her talents. Their pairing alone makes this a film worth seeing. Now, when we hear their voices harmonizing---especially in the title song---it feels iconic.

This is really two films joined together. The first part is the story of vaudeville, and an opening dedication page says that. As their characters, Jo and Harry, meet, team up and struggle to make the big time, the viewer is regaled by song and dance, specialty acts and vaudevillian humor. George Murphy plays the part of Jimmy Metcalf, who winds in and out of their lives.

The action takes place in 1916, just before the U. S. enters WWI. When the RMS Lusitania is sunk, the tenor and style of the film changes. Audiences in 1942 could identify with the patriotic fervor depicted, and it stimulated their nationalistic impulses to buy war bonds, participate in various drives, and forgo many luxuries. The second section of the film, much of which is a montage, is designed to stir up a unified American response to the Axis powers. So, there is no discussion of isolationism or Washington's warnings against foreign entanglements, though they might have been authentic.

In that second section, Jo and Harry's story is secondary to the bigger national story, but it is still there. Unfortunately, the dramatic transition between the two parts is thematically disruptive. It's a criticism that filmgoers of the forties would not have lodged. The review by the New York Times, in its roundabout way, does find fault with the script and its tale of two stories.

Martha Eggerth, the soaring soprano, plays a small role that is notable because she seldom appeared in films west of the Atlantic.

This is a film worth seeing, especially as an example of wartime cinema.
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Gene meets his Pal Judy...
mark.waltz8 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
With only three film appearances together, Gene Kelly and Judy Garland became a team with enough dynamite to blow memories of Judy and Mickey out of the barn. Fresh from Broadway, Gene never looked back as he took Hollywood by storm, and within a few years, was rivaling another dancer named Astaire who came back from a brief retirement to give Mr. Kelly, if I may, a run for his money. Here, Gene and Judy get a war story, timely for the time, even if the war they were fighting was the first World War, not the then current second one. They are members of separate vaudeville acts who come together as one, he replacing her old partner George Murphy (not a bad hoofer himself), and as fast as you can scramble to find a big yellow tulip, they are in love. But when their chance to hit the big time through the Palace in New York comes along, Gene is drafted, and his old selfish nature erupts which makes him not only unpatriotic but his own worst enemy.

Like "This is the Army!", this takes the audience out to view the entertainers on the front, sometimes in dangerous areas of combat, and after realizing the mistake he made, Kelly is desperate not only to fight but to make his girl proud and win her back. But will he find her on the French trenches? Can Judy belt? Can Gene tap? Will Leo roar? Along the way, there's Judy and Gene "Ballin' the Jack", turnin' out the title song and briefly singing the rousing "When You Wore a Tulip" which had a hit recording where the two addressed each other by their real names. "I wore a big red rose!", to which Judy replies "A big fat rose", a memorable duet truncated for the movie much to this Judy fan's disappointment.

Judy also gives a fantastic rendition of "After You've Gone", one of the best torch numbers of her career, showing all the emotion she would later empower with "A Star is Born". Gene's selfish character may have made certain audience members "boo" during the war, and it does seem as if he'll never turn over a new leaf or wake up and smell the chock full o' nuts. But MGM had "patriotism" on its mind in 1942, and there is no way it could let a leading man (especially a new one they intended to make a big star) remain "yeller". That old task masker Busby Berkley is once again at the helm of a Judy picture, and if he was taxing her as dramatized in her many biographies, it never shows. The chemistry between Judy and Gene is top dog and any indication of her teenage "Nobody's Baby" glamourless girl is totally gone. She's a star all the way from here, and Gene would rejoin her for two more musical ventures of varying themes where the memory of their first venture proved to be much more than a fluke.
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For Judy and Gene
marcslope9 January 2011
How both stars must have rolled their eyes when they read this screenplay. The volume of clichés is atrocious: The oversentimental celebration of vaudeville; the romantic triangle; the heel gaining a conscience; the splitting-up-the-act intrigue; the brother and his fate; lines like "you'll never be ready for the big time, because you're small-time in your heart" (Judy nevertheless makes it work). Yet it's a pleasure to view, because Judy and Gene really bring out something special in each other. They did again in "Summer Stock"; in "The Pirate," to my eyes, not so much. She has a gravity and sincerity that balance his self-adoration and schtick, and he was always more persuasive playing a guy of questionable moral values than a mensch. You have to put up with George Murphy at his dullest and Ben Blue at his unfunniest, and Marta Eggerth, as accomplished as she is, appears to be in the wrong movie--she should be doing a Joe Pasternak operetta, not an Arthur Freed extravaganza. But when the two leads sing or dance (she was, in the Forties, a better dancer than she was ever given credit for) or, surprisingly, act together, they're tremendously moving. At her best, which she wasn't always but is here, Judy was the best there was. My favorite moment: the ending of "After You've Gone." Rather than smothering her performance in applause and cutting to a shot of an appreciative audience, Berkeley just fades out. It's MGM's way of saying: Enjoy it, folks, this is as good as it gets.
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For Me & My Girl For Movie Viewers ****
edwagreen13 May 2010
Terrific plot underscores this great 1942 musical starring Gene Kelly, Judy Garland and George Murphy. While Murphy is relegated to a totally supporting role in this film, it was more than worth it as he holds his own.

The musical numbers including the title song are marvelously staged. The tempo picks up as classic World War 1 songs are sung by Miss Garland and Mr. Kelly.

You would never think that a Garland-Kelly musical with the two falling in love and fighting off temptation to abandon each other so as to advance in their careers would fall upon such tragedy here. Who would ever expect that the plot would finally revolve about Kelly's way to avoid selective service so that he could play at his beloved Palace Theater, only to incur the wrath of Garland whose brother is killed in the war.

This was definitely the best of the 3 films that Garland and Kelly made together. The others were "The Pirate" (1948) and Garland's last film for MGM-"Summerstock," in 1951

Note that this film came only after 3 years of Judy's "The Wizard of Oz," and yet she shows a phenomenal maturity here thus breaking out of her teenage role tradition. It was all uphill for Judy after this one.

Who sang for Martha Eggert in the film? Whoever it was did a fantastic job.

This heartwarming piece is a piece of Americana at its best.
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Awkward mix of vaudeville and flag waving held together with star power
cherold5 February 2017
For Me and My Gal is a rather odd bird. Set during World War I, The film begins by positioning itself as a tribute to the days of vaudeville, with sweet singer Judy Garland meeting obnoxious dancer Gene Kelly on tour. The two predictably team up after doing an impromptu version of For Me and My Gal that is the best thing in the movie.

Then the movie wanders into soap opera before pulling the various war- themed threads together into a typical WWII rah-rah boost for contributing to the war effort.

The story is a bit of a mess. I suspect the U.S. entry into WWII happened after the film was greenlighted and parts of it were grafted on as part of the war morale-boosting that was an inevitable part of most early 40s movies. There is a lack of cohesion, most notably with George Murphy's character, who feels like the vestigial tail of the original script. The movie also feels a little self-serving in its emphasis on the importance of entertainment for the troops. I feel this movie would have been done better if it's story had been allowed to play out without worries about patriotic fervor.

Kelly is likable in his film debut, but his character is unsympathetic, and apparently the studio had to do a lot of reshooting before audiences could leave the theater not hating him. Garland is charming as she leaves her juvenile roles behind, although I can never be totally happy with any Garland movie that doesn't include at least one ballad. They have good chemistry, but it is better featured in The Pirate, which they made later on.

The reason to watch a movie like this is for the musical numbers, but while these are good, there isn't much that is memorable (surprisingly director Busby Berkeley didn't do any of his trademark synchronized- chorus-girl numbers). There are also big chunks of the movie where the musical numbers disappear in favor of the story, which just highlights its weaknesses.

Overall this isn't a horrible movie, but it's not one I'd particularly recommend.
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Nostalgia at it's best
boomer33617 April 2004
I thought Judy Garland gave an Oscar worthy performance in this movie. As for Gene Kelly, it was hard to believe that this was his movie debut, his acting made it seem as if he'd been around Hollywood for years. And oh, that musical score, remeniscent of some film scores by Irving Berlin. Not just your ordinary musical, this one has a fine story that fits in with the time of World War One. The title song as done by Garland & Kelly is a classical show-stopper. For sentimentalists, like my wife and I, there are a few scenes that tug at the heart strings, and provide for some misty eyes.
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Two-A-Day For Keith
writers_reign16 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It may well be that the powers that be decided that after signing Gene Kelly for one movie on the strength of his leading role in Pal Joey on Broadway it might be an idea to have him play another heel, i.e. to replicate his role as Pal Joey. Whatever that is exactly what he does until the inevitable volte face when he decides to allow the love of a good woman to reform him. It's unusual inasmuch as there is not one original number, the entire score consists of numbers that were the mainstay of vaudeville which is fitting as this is, in one respect, a valentine to the old two-a-day schtick on the Keith-Orpheum circuit. Garland and Kelly work well together and George Murphy weighs in as the nice guy who loses the girl to the heel. Nothing particularly memorable but neither is it chopped liver.
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Murphy Got Raw Deal, But The Troops Didn't
ccthemovieman-117 September 2007
How much you like this depends upon how much star appeal means to you and how well you like the songs. I wanted to see it for the tap dancing, so this film was very disappointing. It was a lot more singing than dancing, and except for the title song, not the kind of crooning that appeals to me. I was really sorry to see George Murphy get such a weak part and not be able to show off his dancing talents.

From what I've read, he was supposed to get Gene Kelly's role but Judy Garland talked the "powers that be" into casting a young Kelly instead. What a mistake. The story was somewhat boring, too, overall. The film is of note since this was Kelly's first starring role. It should have been Murphy's.

At least they gave the military boys in this World War I saga a good plug. That kind of patriotism really bugs the liberal wackos here, so the film has merit for that. Why is it that Americans plug the U.S.A. during wartime, the Left calls it "propaganda?" When Liberal causes are shown, it's labeled "thought-provoking." Yeah, right.
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One to keep coming back to
edfitzgerald14 August 2003
I keep coming back to this film for many reasons. The vaudeville-based story is an attractive look at a bygone era in American theatrical history, and, while it's almost certainly been romanticized in the process, the feel of it and many of the details seem right to me. Then there's the way Kelly and Garland work together onstage. I wouldn't say there was an inordinate amount of "chemistry" between them -- you don't see sparks flying or feel any real sexuality in their relationship -- but they blend extremely well, and look and sound good when they're performing together, despite Garland's obvious lesser dancing skills compared to Kelly. Other reviewers here have commented on the propagandistic nature of the film, and it's impossible to deny the truth of that, and yet, despite that ulterior motivation, and the thinness of the plot's conceit, the film inevitably, after many viewings, provokes me to tears at the end.

I wouldn't say that this film is one of my top ten, or a standout piece of cinema, but it certainly is a sentimental favorite, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who is interested in vaudeville, enjoys seeing a good song-and-dance routine, likes either of the two stars, and who will, occasionally, allow themselves to be moved by a simple, somewhat corny, story. For those people, as it is for me, this film will be a delight.
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Coward of the Country
Lejink23 December 2020
A rousing Hollywood war-effort movie made directly after the U.S. entered the war following Pearl Harbour, starring Judy Garland in what is recognised as her first adult role and Gene Kelly in his film debut. She's a young singer and dancer Jo Hayden, hoofing her way through Vaudeville who we first see partnering nice guy George Murphy's Jimmy, until she meets fellow-entertainer, "flash" Harry Palmer, Kelly's ambitious, self-centred fellow song and dance man. Jimmy, who might just have an unrequited thing for Jo too, gallantly steps aside when brash Harry, turns up and steals Jo's heart. Before you know it, Harry comes round too and after they team up professionally, they become a couple, although only after he's taught some home truths at the hands of worldly, glamorous singer Eve Minard, played by Marta Eggerth.

The hard-working duo then strive for a break into the big-time and after a false alarm, finally crack it when they earn a residency in New York, only for that pesky First World War to flare up and spoil Harry's dreams. Amongst the first recruits to the U.S. army is Garland's adored younger brother, played by future director Richard Quine, but when Harry's draft papers duly arrive soon afterwards, he's upset that his appointed army medical will get in the way of the duo's Broadway debut, which causes him to make a regrettable decision. Will Harry find redemption in time to save his personal reputation and more importantly his engagement to Garland? Well, what do you think, it is a rousing wartime movie after all?

Some aspects of the film didn't particularly appeal to me, including Kelly's character's initial moral scruples, his fantastical return to glory and, I have to say, the music, especially the old-fashioned songs both leads have to belt out, not to mention diva Eggerth, of the blurry bodice and her light-operatic style.

The divine Miss G is in excellent form throughout, impressively turning on tears of emotion at will and generally carrying the film by dint of her equal parts charm, personality and all-round talent. Kelly is a little callow and doesn't at this stage get any solo numbers to hoof along to but his nascent star quality is at once apparent. Director Busby Berkeley, despite obviously having some empathy with this era and its music, really doesn't flex his muscles at any of the set-piece songs so that we don't get to see any of his big-budget choreographed scenes, although I guess synchronised bathing mightn't have been thought a good fit for this particular feature.

Although it has its minor flaws, this movie made for generally uplifting viewing and almost certainly did the same for its audience on original release. The first of three co-headlining features Garland and Kelly would make together.
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Delightful musical, great chemistry between Gene and Judy
glen_esq12 September 2003
Very enjoyable musical, with Kelly and Garland dancing well together and singly nicely in harmony, too (particularly the title song). Also Judy does a really nice job of singing some WWI tunes while entertaining the troops.

Some tidbits about the movie from a Gene Kelly biography I've read:

  • Fair bit of on set animosity between George Murphy and Gene Kelly. Murphy was a veteran song and dance man from many film musicals and felt he was deserving of the starring role (Kelly's) in the film. As he saw it, because it was Kelly's first film, Kelly didn't deserve the role.

  • Gene coached Judy through the dance numbers, and Judy helped Gene with his acting. Apparently he received next to no acting coaching from the director or from the studio.

  • If the ending feels sort of tacked on, it actually was. The original ending had Gene serve as entertainer overseas, then return home to get the girl. At a test screening, audience was 85% negative that a draft dodger should get the girl in the end, typical comment was George Murphy should get the girl, not some draft dodger. MGM re-shot it to give Gene's character a more heroic overseas tour of duty.
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me and my gal review
baddman3167 October 2009
what a thrilling movie from beginning to end. Even though this was meant to be more of a musical movie, i felt it more of a romantic drama adventure between two great actors. some of my favorite parts of course had to be the main characters dancing in the coffee shop and the dancing clown at the beginning of one of the first show. of course the storyline couldn't of been written better throwing a big twist towards the end of the movie. It gets very moving and makes you wonder if they are going to get back together or not. But you could def. tell there was still unfinished love between the two main characters. "Springtime" is probably a favorite line of mine that stood out.
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Pass the hankies for this one!
weezeralfalfa25 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Perfect training material for prospective manic-depressives, as a series of emotional roller coaster rides punctuate this story. Short on comedy and relatively short on dancing and elaborate stage numbers, it features no new song, but plenty of standards of the early 20th century and WWI era, mostly sung by Judy, sometimes accompanied by others. The most memorable musical number is the one not performed on a stage:the title song, which became 'their song' for Judy and Gene. Their duet, followed by a dance, was a show stopper. Ironically, only a few minutes before this scene, Judy(as Jo) still has Kelly (as Harry) pegged as a fast-talking small-time bore of a stage comedian, with an over-sized ego and ambition. Especially in the first half of the film, Kelly's character clearly is largely taken from the lead character, Joey Evans, which Kelly had just played, in the Broadway production of "Pal Joey".

Although Harry's first stage performance was as a costumed clown, who does a bit of dancing and gymnastics, there was little effective comedy in this production. Ben Blue, who showed up periodically,was supposed to be the main comic relief, but I found his limited physical comedy quite flat.We see part of Kelly's clown act repeated in "The Pirate", and I'm sure I heard a few bars of "Be a Clown" at the end of his act, but supposedly that wasn't composed until 6 years later! Kelly would provide much of the comedy in many of his subsequent films. He would also have much more effective comedic talents to partner with, including: Phil Silvers, Don O'Connor, Jules Mushin, Betty Garrett, Van Johnson, Dan Daily, and even Jerry, the Mouse!

Vaudevillian George Murphy, who originally was slated to take Kelly's male lead role,got bumped to mostly a male shoulder to cry on, when Judy or Kelly was being blue or in trouble. Actually, he had two stage performance roles near the beginning. He is the male lead in the "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" stage production,within which Judy's "Don't Leave Me Daddy" is sandwiched. Again, he partnered with Judy in "By the Beautiful Sea", which was interwoven into Ben Blue's supposed comedic "The Ocean Roll" dance routine.

I don't know what possessed them to cast Martha Eggerth, as Eve Minard, Jo's competition for Harry, at one point. Her operatic singing style seemed so out of place, like Judy had to compete against Dianna Durbin, all over again. Perhaps the point was that Harry was willing to do whatever it took to achieve his ambition of getting into acts at the Broadway Palace. In any case, the cordial exchange between Judy and Martha in Martha's apartment and the subsequent tense exchange between Judy and Kelly in Judy's room,is one of the melodramatic highlights of the film.Will Harry prove what Eve said about his character? Another melodramatic crisis occurs when Harry intentionally injures his hand to avoid being immediately drafted into the army, followed by a telegram saying that Jo's beloved brother has been killed in action. Harry now wants to get into the armed serves to avenge the death of Jo's brother, but nobody will take him with his crippled hand, and he can't perform his vaudeville act well with his hand, either.

Jo joins the YMCA overseas entertainers unit, and is soon entertaining in France. Later, Harry joins this unit, along with Ben Blue. While near the front, Harry takes advantage of a situation to upstage Sergeant York, in cleaning out a German machine gun nest, and warning an Allied convey about a German patrol ready to ambush them. This was a very risky, illegal, action on his part, but this action has negated his anti-hero image. At a victory performance at the Broadway Palace, Jo is singing various songs, when she spots Harry in the audience. The band then plays "For Me and My Gal", and we know the film is about to end.

I noticed that Kelly did a lot smirking at times, near the beginning. Maybe he told to cut this out. Also, in a few places, Judy's acting seemed awkward. Kelly was nearly 30, having spent years in various roles relating to stage productions and in dancing instruction. Before this introduction to film making, he seemed content with stage productions. Beginning with "Cover Girl", he would discover that creating and performing in film dances was the best use of his entertainment talent.

Judy and Kelly wouldn't do another film together for another 5-6 years. By that time, Judy was in a bad mental state from her chronic insomnia and drug taking. Nonetheless , she finished the controversial "The Pirate", directed by her then husband. Unfortunately, she was still in this state of mind when she costarred with Kelly in her last MGM film, "Summer Stock". Thus, despite the limitations of the present film, many people find it the most endearing of the 3 films in which she costarred with Kelly.
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