Sunday, September 9, 2012

Girl Crazy.

Girl Crazy, released in 1943, was the last of the four MGM musicals starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. Here's the story: Danny Churchill, Jr. (Rooney) is a wild, partying, "girl crazy" young man whose antics worry his father. So his dad decides to send him to Cody College, an all-male college in the West, to keep him away from girls for a while. Danny hates everything about the college except for Ginger Gray (Garland), the mail girl who also happens to be the granddaughter of the dean. She has more important things to worry about, like the fact that the college has been ordered to close due to falling enrollment. Danny goes to the governor to ask for more time, and then devises a scheme to put on a wild west rodeo to bring in more students to the college.

I love this movie! It's by far my favorite of the four musicals.

The music is awesome. I love every single song in the film except for the first one. Tons of great Gershwin tunes: I've Got Rhythm, Could You Use Me?, Bidin' My Time, Fascinating Rhythm, But Not For Me, etc. Plus the film features Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra. Who could ask for anything more? {Sorry, but I couldn't resist. :) "I've Got Rhythm" is stuck in my head.}

The plot and setting are also pretty good. I'm actually not a big fan of actual Western films, but I like the idea of them. {I almost always like Westerns when I watch them, but I don't have enough interest to give them a try very often.} I like the idea of the West and cowboys and dusty camps and horses and all that. So with this film, I can get the good stuff in my favorite form: cheesy musical. :) The plot is not intricate by any means, but it's better than some of their other musicals.

Some other things I love about it: the chemistry between Mickey and Judy. There's something about this film that's's like they knew this was the last musical they'd be co-starring in, and they want to enjoy it. Judy almost seems to have a bit of sadness about her, and Mickey is trying to make her laugh. And she does- that stands out to me. I don't seem to remember Judy Garland actually laughing in a lot of her movies. But here she laughs at Mickey a lot, and it's just wonderful and genuine. Maybe I'm reading way too much into things, but that's just what I think about it. :)

Also, Mickey Rooney really gets to show off comedy-wise in Girl Crazy. He does a lot of physical comedy. He also does a great monologue into a microphone, providing the voice of the sports announcer, the athletes, and the sound effects. Mickey gets to play the piano, too, in Fascinating Rhythm with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra (everything I read says it's actually him playing).

The supporting cast is good: I especially like Rags Ragland as a cowhand and Nancy Walker as Polly, the wise-cracking, city cousin of Judy's character.

This film has June Allyson in one of her first feature film appearances...she's a singer in a club that Danny Churchill visits at the beginning of the film. Also, Peter Lawford has a tiny bit part...literally one line, I think? :) He's one of the Cody College guys standing at the bulletin board after Danny's telegram has been put up. I would have completely missed his appearance if it weren't for his instantly recognizable voice. I rewinded it, and sure enough, there he is. :) I don't know if he's seen in any other part or not.
The finale of Girl Crazy is one of the most over-the-top Busby Berkeley musical numbers ever. In fact, it was one of the first scenes filmed, and Berkeley was fired after that (some places say it's because he went way over budget, and others say he and Judy had conflict). There's music and singing and guns firing (I think there's even a cannon at one point?) and these ribbon things and general craziness. It's awesome. :)

You can read my posts about the previous three musicals here: Babes in Arms, Strike Up the Band, and Babes on Broadway.
Have you seen Girl Crazy?

Until next time,


  1. ~ * ♥ * ~

    This movie sounds fantastic Kristin, I want to see all of the Judy & Micky films you've reviewed so far, but this one I am absolutely dying to see now! I think I will leave it for last though, save the best for last right? Thanks for sharing! :)

    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

  2. This is a cute film! Of course it is hard to beat Judy and Mickey... ;)


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