The Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection (Babes In
Arms/Babes on Broadway/Girl Crazy/Strike Up The Band; Warner Home Video DVD)
Picture: C+†††† Sound: C†††† Extras: B-†††† Films: B-
many films were aimed at teens and families in the late 1930s/early 1940s, but when
the pairing of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney became a surprise hit for MGM,
the powers that be repaired them three more times leading to one of the best (and
richly produced) teen series of films ever.†
The new Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland
Collection from Warner (who owns the original MGM films to 1986) has issued
all four of their pairings in an exceptionally fancy box set.
formula is to simply add a certain amount of comedy and show-off music talent
moments (singing, instrument playing, dancing or any combination thereof) to
the boy-meets-girl formula.† So what can
distinguish the four films?† Guest stars,
behind and i1n front of the camera.† Note
that the duo were not playing the same characters in each film, so this is not
a film series per se.
Babes In Arms (1939) is a Rodgers & Hart
piece with no less than Busby Berkeley directing this backstage musical and
even Margaret Hamilton showing up.† The
surprise hit was such since classic songs like Iím Just Wild About Harry, You
Are My Lucky Star and the title song work in the sequences filmed and the
duo were on their way.
Strike Up The Band (1940) has the ever-annoying
title song, but the duo meets through a radio program and that backdrop is a
plus along with the return of Berkeley.† Rooney
gets to show off his drumming and Garland is easily convincing as a singer at
Babes On Broadway (1941) has the duo launching a
show to raise funds to help orphans (what good kids!) and Berkeley is back to
make it all work.† Of the several songs
here, By The Light Of The Silvery Moon is
the biggest classic.
Girl Crazy (1943) has Gershwin classics,
Rooney going to a boyís college and meeting garland, a young Nancy Walker, June
Allison and Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra in a fitting close to their run of
films.† The classic and somewhat infamous
I Got Rhythm wraps up the film.
X 1 image on all four films were shot in black and white, then processed by MGM
in their glossiest stocks.† Though
limited by the definition limits of the DVD itself, these transfers are pretty
good.† The Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono on the
films is not as good, especially on Broadway,
which sounds too brittle for its own good.†
Hope they are all fixed for HD.
for each include new intros by Rooney, Leo
Is On The Air radio promo, bonus animated shorts and original theatrical
trailers.† Arms adds audio commentary by historian John Fricke, Vintage Our
Gang/Little Rascals short Duel Personalities, classic cartoon The
Mad Maestro, 1939 Newsreel with Mickey and Judy and audio-only bonuses
three different radio shows with Rooney and Garland.† Band
adds Pete Smith specialty comedy short Wedding
classic cartoon Romeo in Rhythm, "Do the La Conga" stereo remix
version and audio-only bonuses Millions for Defense radio special
with Mickey and Judy and an additional radio show with Rooney and Garland.† Broadway
adds Pete Smith Specialty comedy short How
to Hold Your Husband Back, classic cartoon Dance of the Weed and
audio-only bonuses two (2) Leo Is On The Air Radio Promos, Radio Show
Adaptation of Merton of the Movies
with Rooney and Garland and Chin Up!
Cheerio! Carry On! Song Demo performed by composer Burton Lane.† Crazy
adds another solid audio commentary by historian John Fricke, vintage short Hollywood
Daredevils, classic cartoon The Early Bird Dood It, I Got Rhythm stereo remix version and audio-only
bonus of Bronco Busters Outtake.
the fancier-than-usual box includes a booklet with a bonus DVD offering a Judy Garland Songbook sampling highlights
from her hit MGM films and a butchered Born in A Trunk clip from her 1954
triumph A Star Is Born.† The film was 2.55 X 1 CinemaScope and this
clip lops the sides off.† You also get a
Mickey & Judy Trailer Gallery, portfolio of glossy mini-stills and solid
installment of the interviews series Private Screenings with Mickey
Rooney - 1996 TCM special hosted by Robert Osborne.† That is exceptional packaging and if you like
the stars or these films, you canít go wrong with this set.
-†† Nicholas Sheffo