GIRL CRAZY (director: Norman Taurog; screenwriters: Fred F. Finklehoffe/Dorothy Kingsley/William Ludwig/Sid Silvers/from play by Guy Bolton and Jack McGowan; cinematographers: William H. Daniels/Robert H. Planck; editor: Albert Akst; music: George and Ira Gershwin; cast: Mickey Rooney (Danny Churchill Jr.), Judy Garland (Ginger Gray), Gil Stratton (Bud Livermore), Robert E. Strickland (Henry Lathrop), Rags Ragland (Rags), June Allyson (Specialty Solo), Nancy Walker (Polly Williams), Tommy Dorsey (Himself), Guy Kibbee (Dean Phineas Armour), Henry O’Neill (Mr. Churchill Sr.), Howard Freeman (Governor Tait), Frances Rafferty (Majorie Tait, governor’s daughter); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Arthur Freed; Warner Home Video; 1943)
“The highlight of the film is all the bouncy Gershwin brother tunes.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Girl Crazyhad been filmed before by RKO in 1932, starring Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey. It was remade in 1965 as When The Boys Meet The Girls with Connie Francis. Girl Crazy has the less intense Norman Taurog(“Bundles of Joy”/”Pardners”/”Blue Hawaii”) take over the directing chores from Busby Berkeley, after the excellent choreographer staged only one number (which was the finale built around “I Got Rhythm”). This made Garland and the producers happy, as Berkeley’s authoritarian ways were not pleasing the studio honchos or some of the performers. The highlight of the film is all the bouncy Gershwin brother tunes, such as “Embraceable You,” “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” “Lady Be Good,” “But Not For Me,” “Bidin’ My Time,” “Could You Use Me?” and “I Got Rhythm.”The film’s downfall is that the predictable story from the play by Guy Bolton and Jack McGowan, that’s written byFred F. Finklehoffe, Dorothy Kingsley, William Ludwig and Sid Silvers, couldn’t be more lame. This is the ninth of ten movies in which both Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland appear together, as the two have a good chemistry together.
New York spoiled rich playboy Danny Churchill, Jr.’s (Mickey Rooney) latest Broadway nightclub out escapade makes scandalous headlines, so his ashamed famous publisher father, Danny, Sr. (Henry O’Neill ), ships junior out West to a small mining male college called Cody.
Danny soon meets the cute Ginger Gray (Judy Garland), the local postmistress and granddaughter of Dean Armour (Guy Kibbee), who snubs the womanizer after he puts some moves on her. After a bumpy horse ride to a singing jamboree and rejection by his cowboy classmates, Danny tells the dean he’s quitting. But he stays that night for the popular Ginger’s birthday party, and becomes smitten with her. Learning the state college will be closed because of not enough students, Danny turns altruistic and stays at Cody to organize a rodeo and beauty contest to be annually sponsored by the college in the hope the publicity will draw enough applicants so the governor will keep the school open after the thirty day reprieve he gave it.
Of course, things work out just peachy. Nancy Walker and Rags Ragland offer comic relief, while Tommy Dorsey has his big band play at the rodeo.
REVIEWED ON 6/12/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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