Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1943. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Fred F. Finklehoffe, based on the musical play by Guy Bolton, Jack McGowan. Cinematography by William H. Daniels, Robert H. Planck. Produced by Arthur Freed. Music by Conrad Salinger, George Stoll. Production Design by Cedric Gibbons. Costume Design by Irene. Film Editing by Albert Akst.
Judy Garland got her first “grown-up” role in this lively adaptation of Rodgers and Hart’s popular musical (with the entire plot and score rewritten and rescored). Mickey Rooney plays a Manhattan millionaire playboy whose father feels that his son, being so undisciplined in his relationships with women, needs some life lessons and sends him to a cowpoke university out in the Wild, Wild West. Garland (in the role created onstage by Ginger Rogers, for whom the character was now named) plays the school dean’s granddaughter who is friend to all and everyone’s favourite singer. Rooney thinks she’s dreamy and she thinks he’s a meat head, but after much head butting the two finally pair up in love and then…decide to put on a show to save the university! (Where have we seen this before?) Lots of fun, ending with the usual overly ridiculous Busby Berkeley number that the choreographer of choreographers usually ended his movies with. Most of the songs are wonderful, the top ones being Judy’s renditions of “Bidin’ My Time” (complete with flying guitar) and “Embraceable You”.