|They are Totally Harvey Girls|
|The Dance Hall Ladies (totally not Harvey Girls)|
Such a simple melody, such a quiet song to open a movie, but Judy casts her spell over the music and you can't help but be lulled and sucked into what ever she is singing about. That's what Judy did to any song. The most popular number from the film is the Academy Award winning Johnny Mercer Number The Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe. A song which was originally only 2 and a half minutes long. But Music arranger Kay Thompson got ahold of it and changed it into what it was in the film, a glorious 8 minute MGM style musical number. If you are familiar with Thompson's work this song reeks of her talent.
Notice Garland's entrance like Dolly Levi coming back to the Harmonia Gardens. She was truly a star. My favorite number from the film is easily the trio sung by Judy, Cyd Charisse, and Virginia O'Brien. It's a ridiculous song with some of the silliest choreography I have ever seen but I loved every effing second. Are they serious?? Are they in the joke?? It's hard to tell. This is It's a Great Big World.
BRILLIANT! There are so many classic performers in this film including character actress extraordinaire Marjorie Main. Garland's Wizard of OZ co-star Ray Bolger makes an apperance in an almost silent role playing the towns new blacksmith and a 21 year old Angela Lansbury in a fabulous role Em the Dance Hall Hostess (though her singing is dubbed BAH!).
Watching the film you can almost see where one writer took over and the last one left off. There are scraps of things that were obviously major plot points left in the final film but because subsiquent scenes/plots lines had been cut they make little sense. Obviously we are supposed to belive the three girls from the song above have formed a deep friendship, however you never see any kind of development in the movie. They are just suddenly singing and song together and are obviously best friends. It's easy to forgive though cause who can take this seriously?? It's a Judy Garland western!
I love the end of this number with Judy perched in front of a huge fire like Joan of Arc belting her guts out! After we saw the movie I was sure I remembered the album cover and low and behold there it was already tucked away in out collection. Sadly missing Marjorie Main's big number (which i also can't find on youtube) The Train Must be Fed.
Here are some clips with Director George Sidney's comentary.
Even if you live no where near Lincoln Center and the Judy Garland film series don't let that stop you from exploring some of her lesser known work. On tuesday we are heading back for 2 of Judy's biggest films Meet me in St. Louis and A Star is Born which I can't wait to see on the big screen. So check out this film you'll have a great time and you might even discover the Harvey Girl inside of you.