Monday, March 06, 2006

Babes In Arms (1939)

They really don't LOOK like they hate black people... and hey, maybe they don't... just MAYBE.

Genre: Musical

Starring: Mickey Rooney (Captains Courageous; Erik The Viking), Judy Garland (A Star Is Born; The Wizard Of Oz)

Directed By: Busby Berkeley (Babes On Broadway)

Overview: With the Vaudeville circuit running dry, a gang of showbiz kids try to prove to their folks that it's a career worth dancing for!

Acting: There were two characters who I didn't like very much, their singing seemed utterly fake. You know that Mickey and Judy are doing their own voices because you've heard them before, but these overly deep and operatic voices coming out of the overdubbed mouths of the other two made me wonder. Direction was fine, Mickey was a little much, Judy was just great.
Rating: 6

Cinematography: Vast stage productions of people dancing all over the place, this is one of those musicals that made musicals famous, no doubt due to the cinematography and choreography. Obviously this is one of the yardsticks, up there with Singin' in the Rain. You had better like musicals, because this is grassroots, my friend.
Rating: 8

Script: Ick. Can't say that I liked how they just jumped into "this is the plot, let's do it!" Then the 12 people behind Mickey say, "Yeah!", "He's Right!", "We'll NEVER give up!" Frikken tacky if you ask me. The words of the songs weren't that great either, but the famous "I'm just Wild About Harry" and "Good Morning" are in this, so you know you're getting repertoire. That's worth a point.
Rating: 6

Plot: Alright, yeah, ok, fine. It's a musical. This just prove my devotion to this thing called film. It's not my kind of story either, but it's not so bad. Vaudeville is losing out to cinema, and the kids put on a show while the parents are away trying to being back a Vaudevillian Revival. The kids do alright and they get a nice big show at the end. It's predictable, and honestly we all know that it's fluff, but there's a bit of a love story and nothing is too far fetched. The story was fine.
Rating: 7

Mood: There's Vaudeville, then there's Blackface. You know, I understand that this tributes the Old South traveling shows, (to use the words grassroots again), but did no one back then even see this as an issue? I mean, 1939 for God's sake! When it started I was a little surprised, then I got over it, then it got to me, not because every white person was black, but because there was a Colonel Sanders cracker-looking white guy sitting on his plantation rocking chair during the whole scene. Mildly disturbing, honestly. The rest is not only standard musical fare, but hardcore classic.
Rating: 6

Sweet classic Soda Shop Scene, and you know what the best part is? Fisticuffs in the store!

Overall Rating: 66% (Just Slipped Through Our Grasp)

Aftertaste: If you're into musicals, this is one not to miss, but you'd know that already, being into musicals as you are, which I, am not. Dancer in the Dark, The Wizard of Oz, I don't even count those, the story's too damn good to think about the fact that half the movie is singing. This, however, is about a show followed by an even bigger show, so your parents will probably like this more than you will.