Classic Film Guide

Girl Crazy (1943)

Filled with Gershwin tunes like "Embraceable You" & "I've Got Rhythm", it stars Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in one of their many enjoyable pairings. The cast also includes June Allyson (who sings at the beginning, then disappears), TV's Nancy Walker (a humorous role, naturally), Guy Kibbee as Garland's grandfather, and Tommy Dorsey (as himself). This is a fairly good musical with an uncommon setting, out West in the desert with cowboys, but no Indians (well, two, very briefly). Rags Ragland also appears as a significant character in the film; Garland sings him to tears with the melancholy "But Not For Me" near the movie's end.

Rooney is playboy who's embarrassed his well-known publisher father for the last time. Father (Henry O'Neill) sends Rooney to a men's college (run by Kibbee's character) in the middle of nowhere to straighten him out. There, he meets Garland, the only woman around these parts, right away. Predictable jokes are played on the "city boy" by the locals and, of course, eventually Rooney wins over Garland. The two then work to "save" the college, whose enrollment is down, with a Wild West Rodeo show and beauty contest. A love interest conflict, the Governor's daughter (Frances Rafferty), for Rooney is introduced to make things interesting until the film ends with the aforementioned show. Irving Bacon appears, uncredited, as the Governor's assistant. Peter Lawford & Don Taylor appear, uncredited, as two of the students. Directed by Norman Taurog (Skippy (1931)), with a screenplay by Fred Finklehoffe (Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)).

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