Time for another edition of Steven Reviews a Movie, Kind Of. A phrase that’s not trademarked yet but maybe in the future. I initially obtained the following movie because I wanted to see some of Judy Garland’s other works besides the Wizard of Oz. I eventually watched the movie because Mickey Rooney recently died. It’s not their most famous movie together it’s…
Babes on Broadway (1941)
I expected to be pleasantly entertained by this move. After all, it stars Hollywood darling Judy Garland and also Mickey Rooney who had an 87 year career for a reason. I was pleasantly entertained through a lot of it but it was a really strange movie. I am not sure that I can call it a good movie but I am not exactly sorry that I watched it.
I will start by saying that I am a pretty big fan of the Wizard of Oz as it is an extremely well done movie for its time and in general. Therefore, I was pretty into Judy Garland but had only seen one and a half of her movies. She had a beautiful singing voice and was actually a really good actress. The one thing is, she always acts and sings with her eyes wide open. It is usually not a problem but sometimes you catch her in a dead-eyed stare. Maybe it was just me but I find her eyes unsettling sometimes.
Mickey Rooney had already been working for fourteen years when he starred in this movie. Even though he was twenty one years old, he still looked like a twelve year old wearing his father’s suit. He was weird, pushy and had a horrible haircut but he was pretty charismatic and charming for all of his flaws. Maybe it was because of all of his flaws. He kind of reminded me of Douglas Croft in Yankee Doodle Dandy.
The characters in this movie are some of the dumbest characters that I have seen by far. They constantly make decisions only a crazy person or two year old would make. This always happened in the sitcoms I watched growing up and I always got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach from it. It feels like it is in character but it also feels like lazy writing.
I have not mentioned a plot since there is not really a whole lot of it. It is the standard plot of a whole bunch of youngsters trying to put on a show to get noticed by Broadway thing. They also throw in charity with younger kids and war orphans from England. It’s a serviceable plot.
Once again, it is just there to throw a lot of songs up on the screen and with that it succeeds.
I will mention one memorable sequence that had me shouting “No! What!? No way, come on!” If you look up this film at all, you will probably see a mention of this major end sequence. The kids do a musical number where they are trying to decide what kind of closing number they can do.
What do they decide to do? A minstrel show. Instantly I groan out loud. Then the kids start putting on blackface and I start shaking my head and uttering the above reaction. It is a incredibly regrettable sequence in an otherwise above average musical comedy. The sequence just baffles me as minstrel shows had gone out of popularity a long time prior. So, you’ll have to decide for yourself if seeing the movie is worth cringing through the last fifteen to twenty minutes.