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A DATE WITH JUDY (director: Richard Thorpe; screenwriters: Dorothy Kingsley/Dorothy Cooper/Aleen Leslie; cinematographer: Robert Surtees; editor: Harold F. Kress; music: George Stoll; cast: Jane Powell (Judy Foster), Elizabeth Taylor (Carol Pringle), Wallace Beery (Mr. Mel Foster), Scotty Beckett (Ogden “Oogie” Pringle), Robert Stack (Stephen Andrews), Selena Royle (Mrs. Foster), Leon Ames (Lucien T. Pringle), Xavier Cugat (Himself), Carmen Miranda (Rosita Conchellas), George Cleveland (Gramps), Lloyd Corrigan(Pop Scully), Jerry Hunter (Randolph Foster), Clinton Sundberg (Jameson, Butler), Lillian Yarbo (Nightingale, the Fosters’ Maid); Runtime: 114; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Joe Pasternak; MGM Home Entertainment; 1948)

It’s a bubbly old-fashioned romantic/comedy/musical.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Richard Thorpe (“Jailhouse Rock“/”Black Hand”/”Above Suspicion”)directs this ongoing hit radio show, started in 1941, which will move to TV in the ’50s. It’s a bubbly old-fashioned romantic/comedy/musical. If you will, a lightweight tale involving a group of teenagers in the coastal city of Santa Barbara, California. Jane Powell sings five vocals. Elizabeth Taylor at 15 shows off her sophisticated acting chops. Robert Stack would much later become known for his starring role in The Untouchable television series, plays the young stud in demand. And, Wallace Beery tries his hand as the gruff suburban dad. None of it showed even a nano second of reality, this is Hollywood balderdash for what it thinks life is like in the suburbs and what family values are all about.

The film opens with the school dance.The 16-year-old Judy Foster (Jane Powell) is going to the dance with the high school bandleader “Oogie” Pringle (Scotty Beckett), who is the clean-cut Mickey Rooney type of wise-cracking brother of her best friend Carol Pringle (Elizabeth Taylor). Upon sis’s dumb advice, Oogie sends a band member to escort Judy to the dance instead of taking her there himself. The self-absorbed attractive sis says this will make Judy not take him for granted and fall into his arms at the dance. Instead Judy is insulted and while at the local luncheonette hangout the proprietor Pop Scully (Lloyd Corrigan) gets his handsome college-aged nephew, Stephen Andrews (Robert Stack), working as a soda-jerk there for the summer, as an escort for Judy. At the dance a bunch of gals fall for the older Stephen, including spoiled rich girl Carol. How Carol and Stephen bond, and how Judy and Oogie reunite, takes care of the romantic business.

If that wasn’t enough excitement for one pic, the subplot has Carol and Judy teaming up to sleuth on Judy’s father Mel (Wallace Beery), who is suspected of cheating on his wife (Selena Royle) with Brazilian hot tootsie Rosita Conchellas (Carmen Miranda). But the truth is revealed, that Mr. Foster was only taking dancing lessons to surprise his wife on their upcoming anniversary party.

Xavier Cugat shows up at the dance. Leon Ames plays the negligent businessman widow father of Elizabeth and Scotty, who has to receive life lessons on how to be a good dad.

The story is flat. The comedy is flat. The music is flat. Therefore the pic is flat. The film’s only scene that got a chuckle from me, was Beery on the dance floor with Carmen.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”