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Judy Garland Database

Film Review: Listen, Darling


Listen, Darling

MGM, 1938 (BW, 70 minutes, Production No. 1053)

A high-school girl and her boy friend "kidnap" her mother to prevent her marrying a man she doesn't love. Knowing she is only thinking of her family's security, they spirit her away in a trailer after the original plan to abduct the groom goes awry. Now, with a bride on their hands, they set about finding a more acceptable groom, a stunt which proves even more involved than the kidnapping.

[MGM press sheet]

A very charming movie! Judy is simply adorable. Don't miss it! [JJ]


Produced by: Jack Cummings
Directed by: Edwin L. Marin
Screen Play by: Elaine Ryan and Anne Morrison Chapin
From the Story by: Katherine Brush
Musical Program:
"On the Bumpy Road to Love" (by) Al Hoffman, Al Lewis and Murray Mencher
"Ten Pins in the Sky" (by) Joseph McCarthy and Milton Ager
"Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (by) James F. Hanley
Musical Score by: Dr. William Axt
Musical Director: Georgie Stoll
Musical Arrangements by: Roger Edens
Art Director: Cedric Gibbons
Associates: Harry McAfee, Edwin B. Willis
Wardrobe by: Dolly Tree
Recording Director: Douglas Shearer
Photographed by: Charles Lawton, Jr.
Film Editor: Blanche Sewell

Filmed: July 1938 - September 1938 (Judy was 16 years old)
Released: October 1938


Freddie Bartholomew ... Buzz Mitchell
Judy Garland ... Pinkie Wingate
Mary Astor ... Dottie Wingate
Walter Pidgeon ... Richard Thurlow
Alan Hale ... J.J. Slattery
Scotty Beckett ... Billie Wingate
Barnett Parker ... Abercrombie
Gene Lockhart ... Mr. Drubbs
Charley Grapewin ... Uncle Joe
Edgar Dearing ... Motorcycle Policeman

Musical Program

[0:00] Overture (played by Orchestra behind titles)
[0:05] Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart (sung by Judy Garland)
[0:23] On the Bumpy Road to Love (sung by Judy Garland with Freddie Bartholomew, Mary Astor and Scotty Beckett)
[0:56] Ten Pins in the Sky (sung by Judy Garland)
[1:00] Ten Pins in the Sky (reprised by Judy Garland, Walter Pidgeon and Mary Astor)
[1:15] Ten Pins in the Sky (reprised by Judy Garland and Company)

see soundtrack anthology CD review


This was Judy's sixth feature film and the first in which she received top billing.

Mary Astor said of Judy, "...sheer joy: young, vital, warm, affectionate and exuberant. A real kid whose sense of humor was so genuine and strong that production would be suspended when she got the giggles. 'There goes Judy!' would be the cry! And we just had to wait until she got over it."

"Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," recorded at several lengths and tempos, including a hot swing version, was cut to a gentle chorus and a half in the final print. According to legend, this was the song that Judy chose to perform for L.B. Mayer at her MGM audition. The song became a Judy Garland standard, nearly as closely associated with her as "Over the Rainbow." She recorded it numerous times over the span of her career, and it was a standard part of her concert repertoire.

By the time Listen, Darling was released, Judy was busy at work on The Wizard of Oz. Listen, Darling was a box office success, and Judy was given star status at MGM, along with her own dressing trailer.

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

"An extremely pleasant - winsome would be a better word - picture about two youngsters who kidnap a matrimonially eligible widow, lock her in a trailer, and start touring the countryside in search of a suitable husband ... Freddie Bartholomew and Judy Garland - with little Scotty Beckett's unconscious assistance - conduct their matrimonial tour with charming unworldliness, despite the surface sophistication of their enterprise...

The comedy has been nicely turned out by Mary Astor, Walter Pidgeon, Alan Hale, Gene Lockhart and Charley Grapewin, among the adults, and by all three youngsters. Besides being a charming little miss, Judy Garland has a fresh young voice which she uses happily on "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart," "On a Bumpy Road to Love," and "Ten Pins in the Sky" ... It is really a natural, pleasant and sensible little film."

- Frank Nugent, The New York Times, November 24, 1938

Memorable Lines

Buzz: "Who said anything about town? We're out on the open road now. Boy, we can meet anyone out here - up to the President of the United States!"
Pinkie: "Oh, what good would that do? He's married."

Thurlow: "Do beavers have stripes on their tails?"
Billie: "Striped ones do!"

Pinkie: "It doesn't cost much to live in a trailer, and we could travel for months and months and eat hamburgers."

Pinkie: "You know, I thought she did, but then when she cried I didn't know. But if that is why, she must like him even more than I thought."
Buzz: "What are you talking about?"

Supplemental Material

Supplement 1: Assorted photographs
Supplement 2: Review from "Picture Play," January, 1939

Listen, Darling VHS

Judy's songs included on soundtrack anthology
Buy soundtrack anthology

Original poster art

Mary Astor, Walter Pidgeon, Scotty Beckett, Judy Garland and Freddie Bartholomew

Original music sheet

Judy Garland costume test

MGM publicity still: Mary Astor and Judy Garland

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