Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Bells are Ringing

Two of the brightest stars in the MGM heavens, Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, teamed for the first time in For Me and My Gal, playing a vaudeville song-and-dance duo who buck through tough times and World War II on the way to show- business success.

Under the direction of the legendary Busby Berkeley, the stars are magic together, hoofing, clowning, and torching through a hit parade of nostalgic gems, including "Smiles", "Ballin' the Jack", the title tune and over a dozen more.

Kelly's inimitable dance style shines through (he also co-choreographed the film, uncredited) and Garland sustains her renowned position as one of the greatest performers in Hollywood history- her rendition of "After You've Gone" proves that no one could surpass her in putting across a heart-tugging ballad.

Bursting with energy and the kind of old-fashioned sentiment that never goes out of style, For Me and My Gal is for everyone who loves movies the way they don't make them anymore-but should.

Title: For Me and My Gal
Release: October 21, 1942
Genre: Musical-Romance
MPAA Rating: G
Writer: Howard Emmett Rogers (story) & Richard Sherman, Fred F. Finklehoffe, Sid Silvers
Director: Busby Berkeley
Produced By: Arthur Freed
Distributed By: MGM
Run Time: 104 minutes

Tons of beautiful musicals were released during the 30's and 40's but some of the very best ones were produced by MGM and starred Judy Garland. For Me and My Gal is no exception, it actually is one of Garland’s best films! Opening in 1942, and co-starring Gene Kelly in his first film role, the simple musical about life on the vaudeville stage (and all of the music numbers are performed like they would have been on stage) became an immediate hit with audiences everywhere. It was even nominated for an Academy award for Best Music!

Judy Garland and Gene Kelly are two of my favorite performers and it was wonderful to see a musical starring the two of them. They have such wonderful chemistry during there numbers, especially the title song For Me and My Gal! I guess I’m not the only one that thought so either because they later went on to star in two more films: The Pirate and Summer Stock (I have seen neither but I hope to remedy that soon). I was just amazed at how well they worked together when they were dancing and although no one will ever be able to upstage Gene Kelly, another one of the co-stars in the film, George Murphy (who played Jimmy Metcalf) sure put on an impressive performance! You almost root for him to get the girl and his number Beautiful Doll is one that will be stuck in your head for days.

Speaking of the wonderful music in the film, I was more than a little surprised that one of my favorite composers Richard Sherman (of the Sherman Brothers team that worked on the music for Mary Poppins) had a hand in writing the screenplay for the musical but not in any of the music itself. I can honestly say that everything I’ve ever seen that had either of the brother’s attached to it are some of my favorite films.

For Me and My Gal is a fabulous movie set in vaudeville's heyday and during WWII depicting what many real life performers did if they either couldn't enlist or weren't drafted. Like the real Palmer and Hayden that the movie is based on, they went and performed for the troops. Which are some of the best scenes in the whole film, especially How You Gonna Keep them Down on the Farm. I loved this comical, sweet, sad, and altogether perfect movie.

Wikipedia, imdb.com, and this fan page all have interesting information, trivia, and pictures from the film.


Title Song:

Doll Shop:



  1. great review!
    I havent seen this one, but both Gene Kelly and Judy Garland were amazing. I love her in Wizard of Oz.

    they dont make great movies like that anymore.

  2. Sorry for this to be off topic, but I wanted to see if you had seen it...
    This blog has the cover up for Patricia Brigg's next Mercy book. It's nice, too!

  3. I love old movies! For one thing since they aren't put on tv often, it's like watching entire new movies!.. and for another.. well.. they don't make actors like they used to! Great review! It's too bad more people don't watch the old movies, they really are good!

  4. Great review, Jen. I haven't yet seen this one, but I'm going to add it to my netflix list now.

  5. I agree with everyone else. This is a great review. Judy Garland is one of my favorites.

  6. Thanks everyone! I really loved this movie and I've had the songs stuck in my head ever since! I sure agree with Naida and Deslily, they certainly don't make movies like they used to. You can't find a funny, sweet comedy that doesn't have some kind of ugly humor in it somewhere anymore. I hope Literary Feline gets to watch this soon! If you can't find it anywhere else, someone has uploaded it to YouTube but I don't know how long that will last.



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