Set during WW I, Palmer and Hayden team up as vaudeville artists. Harry Palmer deliberately injures his hand to avoid being drafted to the army. Later, he makes up for this. WW I patriotism for a WW II audience, very sentimental, great musical episodes and songs.
Grown-up Judy catches Gene in uniform
Notable for two things: the first adult role for Judy Garland (then just out of her teens), and the debut of Gene Kelly, who had previously made an impact on Broadway as Pal Joey. George Murphy also appears as a kind of second-string lead, and one suspects much of his original part went to Kelly as filming progressed.
Directed by Busby Berkeley, but without his usual musical sequence flourishes, the plot is focused on the war, specifically the need for able-bodied men to serve rather than squander their lives on selfish pursuits. This means, for Kelly and Garland, putting aside their dreams of vaudeville fame as a team in favor of the greater good.
The stars have great chemistry in their two duets, the title song and If You Wore A Tulip’, there is a gaiety and charm which would continue throughout their further collaborations through the forties. Garland shines as you always knew she would from her pictures as a child, and Kelly has the charisma in spades which would put him at the forefront of the golden age of musicals.
I wanted to buy war bonds!
Though a thinly veiled piece of propaganda for WWII sentiment, it did the trick. I couldn’t believe I cried not once but three times at this Kelly/Garland musical. An amusement park of a flick. With rollercoaster rides of joy, mood swings of sadness and insecurities, all rolled into a sappy feel good post-depression fluff. Who needs hormones when you can watch this. Great star vehicle for Kelly,it catapulted him into the rarified air of those who have talent, good looks, and that certain “something”. Though at times he seems a bit in awe of his surroundings, it comes off as cockiness and works. Garland’s sense of innocent security grounded this film and proved she was already in the stratosphere. The supporting cast held up their ends admirably. Enough to make this film enjoyable even in these jaded times.