Silver Screen Icons: Judy Garland [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

The Harvey Girls
This glorified Technicolor commercial for the Fred Harvey restaurants stars Judy Garland as a 19th-century mail-order bride. Upon arriving in New Mexico, Garland discovers that her husband-to-be is the town drunk. She cuts her losses and takes a job at the local Harvey restaurant, an establishment which endeavors to bring a little civilization and class to the wide open spaces. Harvey's operation is challenged by saloon-owner John Hodiak, corrupt-judge Preston S. Foster, and local-madam Angela Lansbury. With the help of tenderfoot Ray Bolger, Garland and her fellow waitresses foil the corrupt elements in town. Prominent in the supporting cast are Cyd Charisse, Marjorie Main, Chill Wills, Kenny Baker and Virginia O'Brien (whose musical numbers aren't quite as rambunctious as the contributions of the others, mainly because O'Brien was pregnant during filming). The songs are for the most part perfunctory, with the spectacular exception of the Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer's Oscar-winning "Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe." The Harvey Girls is tenuously based on a more sober-sided historical volume by Samuel Hopkins Adams. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

In the Good Old Summertime
In the Good Old Summertime is a musical remake of the 1940 Ernst Lubitsch comedy The Shop Around the Corner, which in turn was based on a play by Miklos Laszlo. The locale has been changed from Hungary to Chicago, but the turn-of-century time frame and the plot remain the same. Van Johnson and Judy Garland play a couple of clerks in a sheet-music store who detest each other on sight. Both reserve their words of affection for their respective pen pals, whom they've never met. The audience, of course, is aware that Johnson is Garland's pen pal, and she his, but it's fun to anticipate the fireworks when the characters on screen make this discovery. Buster Keaton, then employed by MGM as a "comedy consultant," is provided with one of his best parts in years as the bumbling nephew of shop owner S.Z. Sakall. The songs sung in Summertime consist of period numbers like "I Don't Care", "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie", and the title tune. This is the film in which 18-month-old Liza Minnelli (Garland's daughter) toddles into the closing number, though it is not her film debut, as has often been claimed: an even younger Minnelli popped up briefly in Garland's previous MGM musical Easter Parade. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Summer Stock
Summer Stock represented Judy Garland's swan song at MGM. Garland plays the owner of a New England farm which entrepreneur Gene Kelly hopes to convert into a summer theatre. Gloria DeHaven, a member of Kelly's troupe, also happens to be Garland's sister. Aware that the farm is having financial difficulties, DeHaven talks the recalcitrant Garland into allowing the troupe to set up shop in the barn. All sorts of romances wind their way through the summer air as Kelly mounts his production. In the long-anticipated finale, Garland herself steps into the leading-lady slot vacated by her petulant sister DeHaven, and of course the show is a smasheroo. To watch Garland joyfully perform such numbers as "Friendly Star," "If You Feel Like Singing, Sing," and her legendary "drag" specialty "Get Happy," you'd never suspect that she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown (the film opened while Garland was recovering from a suicide attempt). Adding to the overall exuberance of Summer Stock are such dependable supporting players as Eddie Bracken, Phil Silvers, Marjorie Main and Hans Conried (cast as the troupe's resident romantic baritone!) ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

For Me and My Gal
For Me and My Gal, a leisurely period musical, represents the first on-screen dancing of MGM's new star Gene Kelly. Judy Garland plays a member of a vaudeville troupe consisting of herself, George Murphy, Ben Blue and Lucille Norman. She leaves the act to join up with Kelly, who promises to propel her to the big time. Two unsuccessful years later, Garland and Kelly are still struggling in the small time, while Murphy and his bunch are headliners. Kelly nearly throws Garland over for singer Marta Eggerth, but Judy remains loyal--at least until Kelly deliberately breaks his hand to avoid serving in World War I. Having lost her brother Richard Quine to the war, Garland denounces Kelly as a coward and walks out. Kelly redeems himself by joining an overseas entertainment troupe, saving several lives when he finds himself under attack on the front. Judy and Gene are at last reunited in Paris. A major break for both Gene Kelly and Judy Garland (who proved once and for all in this film that she was no longer just a "juvenile"), For Me and My Gal was based on a story by Howard Emmett Rogers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Judy Garland
    Judy Garland - Susan Bradley
  • John Hodiak
    John Hodiak - Ned Trent
  • Ray Bolger
    Ray Bolger - Chris Maule
  • Angela Lansbury
    Angela Lansbury - Em
  • Marjorie Main
    Marjorie Main - Sonora Cassidy
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