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Film Review: "La Fiesta de Santa Barbara"

 DVD

"La Fiesta de Santa Barbara"

MGM, 1935 (Color, 19 minutes)

A festival event celebrating the Spanish heritage of California. Narrated by Pete Smith (of "Pete Smith's Specialties" fame), the film features a number of song and dance numbers with many cameo appearances. Andy Devine and Buster Keaton perform a bull-fight skit, Irvin S. Cobb and Ted Healy (of Three Stooges fame) each perform a short comedy number and Joe Morrison sings his recent hit song, "The Last Round-Up". Leo Carrillo plays emcee to the latter half of the short, with the Garland Sisters singing "La Cucaracha".

This is the best recording of Judy singing with her sisters that I know of. They sing three-part harmony, blending quite nicely, with each sister performing short solos. Twelve-year-old Judy is definitely the standout, with a powerful voice that is unmistakably Garland. The Garland Sisters are definitely the high-point of the film.

It seems rather odd that the Garland Sisters appear in this MGM film, yet Judy was not "discovered" by MGM until one month later, especially since the Garland Sisters are listed fourth in the opening credits. Obviously, someone at MGM was aware of Judy's talent before her audition for L.B. Mayer in September 1935. This was the Garland (Gumm) Sister's last film together.

l-r: Judy, Jimmy, Suzy
Film credits list Judy and her sisters as "The Garland Sisters."
l-r: Judy, Jimmy and Suzy Garland, Irvin S. Cobb.

For Me and My Gal DVD
Included on this DVD

Cast & Crew

Produced by: Louis Lewyn
Narrated by: Pete Smith (A Smith Named Pete)
With: Eduardo Durant's Fiesta Orchestra and "A Galaxy of Screen Stars", including: Warner Baxter, Ralph Forbes, The Panchonettes, Garland Sisters, Kirby & DeGage, Dude Ranch Wranglers
Photographed in Technicolor
Technicolor Photography: Ray Rennahan
Technicolor Director: Natalie Kalmus
Featuring Chester Conklin, Andy Devine, Buster Keaton, Irvin S. Cobb, Joe Morrison, Ted Healy and Leo Carrillo with cameo appearances by Mary Carlisle, Cecilia Parker, Shirley Ross, Ida Lupino, Gilbert Roland, Binnie Barnes, Robert Taylor, Harpo Marx, Gary Cooper, Adrienne Ames.
Filmed: August 1935

Musical Program

The Last Round-Up (Joe Morrison)
La Cucaracha (The Garland Sisters)

Notes

The complete film is included on the DVD For Me and My Gal.

A clip of the Garland Sisters' number from the film is included on the laser disc box set, "Judy Garland: The Golden Years at M-G-M," MGM/UA ML104869 (1994).

The complete film is available on videotape from various collectors.

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


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