MGM, 1941 (BW, 133 minutes, Production No. 1165)
It's the opening night of a new Ziegfeld review and all New York is singing its praises, but behind the scenes there is tragedy. Months before, three pretty girls were hired for the chorus. One was the star-bent daughter of
a vaudevillian, the second a shop girl, and the third the lovely wife of an out-of-work musician. All three had special reasons for wanting a role and all three have different destinies - one as a star, one as the wife of a great concert violinist, and
one to die in poverty and sickness. Just as Florenz Ziegfeld's shows epitomized American showbusiness, so his performers were a true cross-section of the American human comedy.
[MGM press sheet]
Produced by: Pandro S. Berman
Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard
Screen Play by: Marguerite Roberts and Sonya Levien
Original Story by: William Anthony McGuire
Musical Numbers Directed by: Busby Berkeley
Musical Score: Herbert Stothart
Musical Direction: Georgie Stoll
"You Stepped Out of a Dream" (by) , ;
"Minnie from Trinidad" (by) with The Kids from Seville [Antonio and Rosario];
"I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" (by) , ;
"Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Shean" (by) ,
Vocals and Orchestrations: Leo Arnaud, George Bassman, Conrad Salinger
Art Director: Cedric Gibbons
Associate: Daniel B. Cathcart
Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis
Musical Presentation: Merrill Pye
Gowns and Costumes by: Adrian
Make-Up Created by: Jack Dawn
Recording Director: Douglas Shearer
Director of Photography: Ray June
Film Editor: Blanche Sewell
Filmed: September 1940 - March 1941 (Judy was 18 years old)
Released: April 1941
... Gilbert Young
... Susan Gallagher
... Sandra Kolter
... Sheila Regan
... Frank Merron
... Jerry Regan
... Geoffrey Collis
... "Pop" Gallagher
... Noble Sage
... Franz Kolter
... John Slayton
... Patsy Dixon
... Jimmy Walters
... Mrs. Regan
... Mrs. Merron
... Nick Capalini
... Mr. Regan
... Native Dancer
... Specialty Dancers
... Geoffrey's Friend
... Actress in Slayton's Office
... Truck Driver
... Theater Worker
, ... Truckers
... Miss Sawyer
... Beth Regan
... Casino Patron
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ... Ziegfeld Girls
[0:00] Overture (played by Orchestra behind titles, includes short vocal of "You Never Looked So Beautiful" sung by Chorus)
[0:09] (sung and danced by Judy Garland and Charles Winninger)
[0:22] (sung by Tony Martin)
[0:36] (sung by Bill Days, John Rarig and Max Smith; danced by Nightclub Patrons)
[0:40] (sung by Judy Garland)
[0:53] (sung by Judy Garland)
[1:29] (sung by Tony Martin)
[1:34] (sung by Chorus, danced by Antonio and Rosario then sung and danced by Judy Garland and Ensemble)
[2:00] (performed by Charles Winninger, Al Shean)
[2:04] (sung by Judy Garland and Chorus)
[2:06] (sung by Judy Garland and Chorus)
[2:08] (reprised by Tony Martin)
[2:10] (sung by Judy Garland and Chorus)
[cut] (sung by Judy Garland, Tony Martin, Six Hits and a Miss and the MGM Studio Chorus)
After completing her work on , Judy went directly into rehearsals for Ziegfeld Girl, which had originally been announced as a 1938 vehicle for Eleanor
Powell, Joan Crawford, Margaret Sullavan and Virginia Bruce. Now the leading women's roles were assigned instead to Judy Garland, Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr and Eve Arden. James Stewart played opposite Lana Turner. This is a rare opportunity to see Judy in
a film with other major stars - this film was not a Judy Garland vehicle as most of her films were.
Judy's principal ballad is a heartfelt "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows", but the film is highlighted by three lavish production numbers. Tony Martin sings "You Stepped Out of a Dream" to accompany the girls' debut; a lengthy
montage of West Indian music and motifs leads to Judy's first specialty, "Minnie from Trinidad;" and a colossal seven-minute finale, "We Must Have Music," features Judy and Tony Martin and includes brief reprises of "You Stepped out of a Dream" and "I'm
Always Chasing Rainbows".
"We Must Have Music" was dropped from the finished film and hastily replaced in March 1941 by an entirely different finale; footage and songs from the 1936 The Great Ziegfeld were intercut with a new Garland/Edens
number, "Ziegfeld Girl." Footage from the number can be seen in the MGM short by the same name.
Judy again made the top-ten list of biggest box office stars for 1941.
A clip of Judy's number in the short subject "We Must Have Music", cut from original finale of Ziegfeld Girl, is included on the laserdisk set: "Judy Garland/The Golden Years at M-G-M" ().
The closest thing there is to a soundtrack on CD is Chansons Cinema Volume 2 (). Some of Judy's numbers are also included on the wonderful Collector's Gems CD ().
See for information about the latest releases of home video and sountrack.
See for more information on this and other classic films.
"Although their tribulations are never worth the length that producer Pandro Berman devotes to them, Miss Garland warbles a torrid tropical tune, "Minnie from Trinidad", with true professional gusto."
- Time, May 5, 1941
"Judy Garland, as the show wise youngster, carries the sympathetic end most capably and delivers her vocal assignments in great style"
- Variety, April 16, 1941
"Of the three aspirants to stardom ... only [Judy] made it, which gave the film a conviction it lacked elsewhere."
- film historian David Shipman
"Judy Garland is especially good as a youngster who becomes a star under a strict code of showmanship."
- Howard Barnes, The New York Herald Tribune
"... Judy Garland sings and dances her way enthusiastically from tank-town vaudeville to the New Amsterdam Theatre and Charles Winninger, as her father, turns out to be the Gallagher of the famous Gallagher and Shean team,
while Shean is played with nostalgic gusto by Al Shean himself..."
Pop: "You're no ordinary girl. Do you know why?"
Susan: "Yes, Pop, I do. It's cuz you're no ordinary father."
Gallagher: "Oh, Mr. Shean. Oh, Mr. Shean. For de Milo's Venus I'm not very keen."
Shean: "Why not?"
Gallagher: "For the thing that spoils her charms is her pair of broken arms."
Shean: "I didn't see them, Mr. Gallagher."
Gallagher: "Where were you looking, Mr. Shean?"