“I always said you were girl crazy. I was wrong – you’re just crazy!”
The girl-crazy son (Mickey Rooney) of a newspaper magnate (Henry O’Neill) is sent out West to attend a boys-only college, where he nonetheless falls in love with one of the only girls around — the dean’s beautiful daughter, Ginger (Judy Garland).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Busby Berkeley Films
- Judy Garland Films
- Let’s Put On a Show!
- Mickey Rooney Films
Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney’s final film together (at least in leading roles) was this rousing adaptation of George and Ira Gershwin’s 1930 stage musical. The plot is as silly as they come, but ultimately inconsequential in the face of a host of fabulous, memorable tunes — including “Bidin’ My Time”, “Fascinating Rhythm”, “But Not For Me”, and “I’ve Got Rhythm”, among others (wowee!). Meanwhile, Garland and Rooney are in peak form here, with Garland lovelier than ever (it’s a treat to see her actually resisting Rooney’s advances for once, rather than the other way around), and Rooney a bundle of typically irrepressible — but somehow tolerable — energy (viz. the random but enjoyable scene in which he entertains Garland by acting out a boxing round). Busby Berkeley notoriously directed the film’s stunningly choreographed finale, “I’ve Got Rhythm” (which was shot first), but was replaced by Norman Taurog, who does a fine job managing the rest of the escapist material. Don’t pay too much attention to details of the plot, however, or you’ll find yourself irritated by what amounts to lazy scriptwriting (I’m speaking specifically about events related to the “Miss Rodeo” contest, but won’t give away more here).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Mickey Rooney as Danny
- Judy Garland as Ginger
- Numerous rousing Gershwin tunes
Yes, as one of Rooney and Garland’s best films together (in large part due to that Gershwin score!).