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Judy Garland Database

Film Review: Everybody Sing


Everybody Sing

MGM, 1938 (BW, 91 minutes, Production No. 1020)

The Bellaire household is filled with theater performers. Hillary is a playwright. Diana is a leading lady on the stage. Both of their daughters, Judy and Sylvia, are singers. Ricky, the cook, sings at the Cafe Nappo, a local nightclub. Olga, the maid, was an actress in Moscow.

When Judy is expelled from school, she returns home to find the household in utter chaos. Diana and Jerrold are rehearsing in one room, Madame Le Brouchette is giving Sylvia singing lessons in another. Hillary is writing a play which will feature Diana and Sylvia. When Judy arrives, she finds her father busy firing his secretary (Helen Troy) to whom he has been dictating the script. It seems she can't get anything right.

No one has any time for Judy. At the last minute, Hillary's financial backer pulls out, and Hillary is left holding the bag. Desperately, he tries to raise the rest of the money so that he can open the play. Everyone's nerves are on edge. "Oh, this family's in an awful mess!" Judy laments. She decides to help out by getting a job singing at the Cafe Nappo.

Judy's a big hit at Cafe Nappo, but when Hillary finds out she's been singing in a nightclub, he sends her to Europe (as punishment!) with a tour group and fires Ricky (the cook). Undaunted, Ricky convinces the nightclub owner to back a Broadway musical. Just before sailing, Judy sneaks off the boat and convinces Ricky to give her a part in his new show. By the time Hillary and Diana find out that Judy didn't go to Europe, Ricky's show has opened, and it's a hit.


Produced by: Harry Rapf
Directed by: Edwin L. Marin
Original Story and Screen Play by: Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf
Additional Dialogue by: James Gruen
Musical Program: "The One I Love," "Down on Melody Farm," "Swing Mr. Mendelssohn," "Show Must Go On" Lyrics by Gus Kahn, Music by Kaper and Jurmann
Musical Interpolations and Vocal Arrangements by: Roger Edens
"Quainty, Dainty Me" (staged by Seymour Felix), "Snooks" ("Why? Because!") Music and lyrics by Kalmar and Ruby
Musical Direction: Dr. William Axt
Associate Conductor: Georgie Stoll
Orchestrations by: George Bassman
Musical Numbers Staged by: Dave Gould
Art Director: Cedric Gibbons
Associates: Harry McAfee, Edwin B. Willis
Recording Director: Douglas Shearer
Photographed by: Joseph Ruttenberg
Film Editor: William S. Gray

Filmed: August 1937 - January 1938 (Judy was 15 years old)
Released: February 1938


Allan Jones ... Ricky Saboni
Judy Garland ... Judy Bellaire
Fanny Brice ... Olga Chekaloff
Reginald Owen ... Hillary Bellaire
Billie Burke ... Diana Bellaire
Reginald Gardiner ... Jerrold Hope
Lynne Carver ... Sylvia Bellaire
Helen Troy ... Hillary's Secretary
Monty Woolley ... John Fleming
Adia Kuznetzoff ... Boris
Henry Armetta ... Signor Vittorino
Michellette Burani ... Madame Le Brouchette
Mary Forbes ... Miss Colvin
Additional Cast:
Elise Cavanna ... Music Teacher
Edgar Dearing ... Policeman at Desk
George Guhl ... Policeman
Ethan Laidlaw ... Policeman
Andrew Tombes ... Gary Society Man
Alphonse Martell ... Headwaiter at Cafe Nappo
James Donlan ... Stage Doorman
St. Brendan's Boys Choir Directed by Robert Mitchell ... Vocals
Mildred Rogers ... Singing voice of Lynne Carver

Musical Program

[0:00] Overture (played by Orchestra behind titles)
[0:02] Swing Mr. Mendelssohn (sung by Judy Garland and the St. Brendan's Boys Choir dubbing for school girls)
[0:11] The One I Love (excerpt sung by Lynne Carver and Allan Jones)
[0:23] Early Morning Sequence (sung by Allan Jones)
[0:31] Cosi Cosa (sung by Allan Jones)
[0:32] (Down On) Melody Farm (sung by Judy Garland)
[0:36] Bus Sequence (sung by Judy Garland, Allan Jones, Reginald Gardiner, Mildred Rogers [dubbing for Lynne Carver] and Adia Kuznetzoff)
[0:48] Audition sequence (performed by unidentifed actors)
[0:49] Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (with special lyrics, sung and danced by Judy Garland)
[0:55] The One I Love (sung by Allan Jones)
[1:04] Quainty Dainty Me (performed by Fanny Brice)
[1:15] The Show Must Go On (sung by Allan Jones and Chorus)
[1:19] Why? Because! (performed by Judy Garland and Fanny Brice)
[1:23] Ever Since the World Began / Shall I Sing a Melody? (sung by Judy Garland)
[1:28] Finale: reprises of "The Show Must Go On" / "The One I Love" / "Quainty Dainty Me" / "Down on Melody Farm" (performed by The Company)

see soundtrack anthology CD review


After the success of Judy's appearance in Broadway Melody of 1938, MGM was eager to get her on the screen again. Everybody Sing was the first of many films to come that was intended as a vehicle to showcase Judy's talents.

The film did not receive much critical acclaim, but it was a box office hit.

Originally named The Ugly Duckling, the film's title was changed to Swing Fever and finally to Everybody Sing to capitalize on the popularity of Judy's song with the same title in Broadway Melody of 1938.

Allan Jones' performance of "Cosi Cosa" in this film is a reprise of his popular rendition of that song in the Marx Brothers' hit film A Night At the Opera.

While filming Everybody Sing, Judy also worked on Thoroughbreds Don't Cry with Mickey Rooney, recorded several records for Decca, and appeared as a regular on the "Jack Oakie College" radio show (all this at the age of 15!).

This film features some of MGMs finest character actors, including Reginald Owen, Billie Burke, Henry Armetta and Monty Woolley. Billie Burke turns in one of her best performances as the muddled mother. Fanny Brice is a rare treat, having been a success on Broadway, but not so successful in Hollywood. Here she recreates her well-known radio personality Baby Snooks in a memorable number with Judy, "Why? Because!" (penned by none other than Kalmar and Ruby). But, even surrounded by such talent, fifteen-year-old Judy certainly more than holds her own!

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

"Judy Garland of the rhythm, writin' and 'rithmetic age is a superb vocal technician, despite her not exactly underemphasized immaturity."

- The New York Times, March 11, 1938

"The diminutive Judy Garland takes a long leap forward to stardom. She has what it takes."

- Variety, January 26, 1938

Memorable Lines

Olga: "But what about the obsquays?"
Diana: "Oh, that's all right. He adores obsquays, don't you Jerrold?"

Judy: "You can't hold me down. I'm going up, up, up!"
Hillary:"You bet you're going up, up - up to your room and stay there!"

Diana: (to nobody in particular while seeing Judy off to Europe on the ocean liner) "I don't see Judy. Oh, perhaps she's made friends with the captain. Well, there's somebody I don't know, anyway." (waving) "Goodbye! Have a nice time!"

Hillary: (to his secretary) "I dictate: 'Here at the pool I grow violets and daphne' - you write: 'Here at the pool I grow violently daffy'!"

Supplemental Material

Supplement 1: Assorted Photos

Everybody Sing VHS

Judy's songs included on soundtrack anthology
Buy soundtrack anthology

Original MGM poster art

Reginald Owen, Lynne Carver, Billie Burke, Allan Jones, Judy Garland, Fanny Brice, Reginald Gardiner

Judy sneaks off the ship

Judy sings "Shall I Sing a Melody?"

Lynne Carver and Judy Garland

MGM publicity still: Judy Garland

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