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Film Review: Girl Crazy

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Girl Crazy

MGM, 1943 (BW, 100 minutes, Production No. 1285)

When a youngster with a yen for feminine company is banished to an all-boy school, he refuses to cooperate until he meets the Dean's niece [sic]. Now that the girl shortage is taken care of, all he has to do is persuade the lass she needs him. This is a bigger problem than he had expected and it isn't until he solves the school's student shortage by a well-planned publicity campaign, that the girl begins to show any leaning in his direction.

[MGM press sheet]

Crew

Produced by: Arthur Freed
Directed by: Norman Taurog
Screen Play by: Fred F. Finklehoffe
Music by: George Gershwin
Lyrics by: Ira Gershwin
Based Upon Musical Play "Girl Crazy" by Guy Bolton and Jack McGowan
Musical Adaptation: Roger Edens
Musical Direction: Georgie Stoll
Orchestration: Conrad Salinger, Axel Stordahl, Sy Oliver
Vocal Arrangements: Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane
Dance Direction and Solo Dance with Miss Garland by: Charles Walters
"I Got Rhythm" Number directed by Busby Berkeley
Musical Presentation: Merrill Pye
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis
Associate: Mac Alper
Costume Supervision: Irene
Associate: Sharaff
Recording Director: Douglas Shearer
Directors of Photography: William Daniels, Robert Planck
Film Editor: Albert Akst

Filmed: January 1943 - April 1943
Released: November 1943

Cast

Mickey Rooney ... Danny Churchill, Jr.
Judy Garland ... Ginger Gray
Gil Stratton ... Bud Livermore
Robert E. Strickland ... Henry Lathrop
Rags Ragland ... Rags
June Allyson ... Specialty Number
Nancy Walker ... Polly Williams
Guy Kibbee ... Dean Phineas Armour
Frances Rafferty ... Marjorie Tait
Henry O'Neill ... Mr. Churchill, Sr.
Howard Freeman ... Governor Tait
Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra ... Themselves
Sidney Miller ... Ed
Eve Whitney ... Brunette
Carole Gallagher ... Blonde
Kay Williams ... Blonde
Jess Lee Brooks ... Buckets
Roger Moore ... Cameraman
Charles Coleman ... Maitre d'Hotel
Harry Depp ... Nervous Man
Richard Kipling ... Dignified Man
Henry Roquemore ... Fat Man
Alphonse Martell ... Waiter
Barbara Bedford ... Churchill's Secretary
William Beaudine, Jr. ... Tom
Peter Lawford ... cameo as student
Frances McInerney ... Checkroom Girl
Sally Cairns ... Checkroom Girl
Victor Potel ... Stationmaster
Joe "Corky" Geil ... Student
Ken Stewart ... Student
Irving Bacon ... Reception Clerk
George Offerman, Jr. ... Messenger
Mary Elliott ... Southern Girl
Katharine Booth (aka Karin Booth) ... Girl
Harry C. Bradley ... Governor's Crony
Chief Many Treaties ... Indian Chief
Rose Higgins ... Indian Squaw
Spec O'Donnell ... Fiddle Player
Sarah Edwards ... Governor's Secretary
William Bishop ... Radio Man
James Warren ... Radio Man
Fred Beckner (aka Fred Coby) ... Radio Man
Georgia Carroll,
Aileen Haley,
Noreen Nash,
Natalie Draper,
Hazel Brooks,
Mary Jane French,
Inez Cooper,
Linda Deane ... Showgirls
Don Taylor,
Jimmy Butler,
John Estes,
Bob Lowell ... Boys
Blanche Rose,
Helen Dickson,
Milissa Ten Eyck,
Vangie Beilby,
Julia Griffith,
Lillian West,
Sandra Morgan,
Peggy Leon,
Bess Flowers ... Committee Women
The Music Maids ... vocals
The Stafford Trio ... vocals
The King's Men ... vocals
Six Hits and a Miss ... vocals

Musical Program

[0:00] Overture: "I Got Rhythm" (played by Orchestra behind titles)
[0:04] Treat Me Rough (June Allyson, Mickey Rooney, The Music Maids, The Stafford Trio, Kathleen Carns, Ruth Clark and Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra)
[0:26] Bidin' My Time (Judy Garland, The King's Men and the MGM Studio Chorus)
[0:37] Could You Use Me? (Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland)
[0:42] Embraceable You (Judy Garland, Henry Kruze, P. Hanna, G. Mershon, H. Stanton, E. Newton, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra and the MGM Studio Chorus)
[1:12] Fascinating Rhythm (Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra with piano solo by Mickey Rooney)
[cut] Bronco Busters (Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Nancy Walker and the MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus, cut from film)
[1:25] But Not for Me (Judy Garland)
[1:31] I Got Rhythm (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Six Hits and a Miss, The Music Maids, Hal Hopper, Trudy Erwin, Bobbie Canvin, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra and the MGM Studio Chorus)

see soundtack CD review

see soundtrack CD collection review

Notes

Girl Crazy was June Allyson's MGM screen debut. Though her "official" debut was to be Best Foot Forward, she was given a specialty number in this film while waiting for work to commence on Best Foot Forward. She was a member of the "Best Foot Forward" Broadway cast, and had been brought to Hollywood by MGM to reprise her role in the film version. June also appeared in short films made in New York prior to moving to Hollywood.

Busby Berkeley began directing Girl Crazy, but was replaced by Norman Taurog after running far over budget and over schedule with the finale (shot first). Some accounts indicate that Judy had Buz replaced because he was driving her too hard.

Molly Gray was played by Ginger Rogers in the very successful original Broadway production of Girl Crazy, which opened in 1930. The character name was changed to Ginger Gray for the film version, in honor of Ginger Rogers.

This was the last of the four Mickey/Judy "backyard musicals" directed by Busby Berkeley. Previously there was Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940) and Babes on Broadway (1941). See Mick 'n' Joots Album.

Parts of the movie were filmed on location near Palm Springs, California - a very unusual practice for movie musicals at the time. The Saguaro cacti, made of cardboard, were added to the scenery to give it that Arizona look - Cody college was originally set in Arizona.

Soundtrack included in Rhino 4-CD set entitled "Mickey and Judy," R2 71921 (1995).

See Judy Garland Movies on Video for information about the latest releases of home video and sountrack.

See Class Act for more information on this and other classic films.

Critical Response

"Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland ... are the most incorrigibly talented pair of youngsters in movies ... Judy ... sings and acts like an earthbound angel."

- New York Times, December 3, 1943

"As sung by cinemactress Judy Garland, 'Embraceable You' and 'Bidin' My Time' become hits all over again and the new 'But Not for Me' sounds like another. Her presence is open, cheerful, warming. If she were not so profitably good at her own game, she could obviously be a dramatic cinema actress with profit to all."

- Time, December 27, 1943]

"Miss Garland is a nifty saleswoman of the numbers, right down to the overproduced 'Rhythm' finale which was Busby Berkeley's special chore. Her 'Embraceable You' delivery is a standout; ditto 'Bidin' My Time' and 'Not for Me'. She's also got two nice dancing sessions.

- Variety, August 4, 1943

Memorable Lines

Danny (to Ginger): The Government is making a big mistake! They ought to put your picture on a postage stamp!"

Ginger: "Did you ever kiss that debutante?"
Danny: "I take an oath!"
Ginger: "Did you ever want to?" (looking at the painful expression on Danny's face) "Never mind, don't answer that."

Polly: "When you look like I do from the neck up, from the neck down is no problem!"

Dean Armour: "Could you tell me something?"
Danny: "Yes, sir."
Dean Armour: "Just what is the meaning of the word 'snerpy'?"
Danny: "Well, a snerp is a loogan with a belt in the back; sometimes referred to as a diljo. A diljo is a..."
Dean Armour: "Never mind! I have a rough idea."

Dean Armour (to Danny): "All you've done since you've been here is pack and unpack and resign. Now, why don't you see if you can quit resigning long enough to learn something?"




Mickey & Judy DVD Box Set
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Girl Crazy VHS
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Girl Crazy Soundtrack CD
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Mickey & Judy Soundtrack CD Box Set
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Girl Crazy Posters
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Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland


Judy Garland and Guy Kibbee in a deleted scene



Original music sheet



Original publicity still


Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Tommy Dorsey


Judy Garland in Girl Crazy


Robert E. Stirickland, Judy and Bud Livermore


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