Sunday, December 16, 2007

In the Good Old Summertime

Tonight I enjoyed a Judy Garland double feature with some friends. It seems I've got 'em hooked. hahaha (evil laugh). Anyway, we watched Meet Me in St. Louis (my second viewing in a week), but the main purpose of our gathering was to watch In the Good Old Summertime.

Number 3 on my Top Ten Judy Garland Movies list, In the Good Old Summertime is basically amazing. It really has it all—comedy, songs, and a love story. The plot is pretty well known at this point, originally taken from the 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner, and remade again as You've Got Mail in 1998.

Judy plays Veronica Fisher, a single working girl who writes romantic letters in her free time to a fellow she doesn't know. She gets a job at a music store where she butts heads with a dashing Mr. Larkin, played by Van Johnson, who also happens to be corresponding with an anonymous young woman. I think we can all guess what happens—after going to meet his pen pal, Mr. Larkin find that he's been writing to Miss Fisher all along. Hilarity ensues (kind of) and of course, after a few bumps in the road, they all live happily ever after.

I personally think this is Judy's funniest movie. She has some brilliant moments. The banter between her and Van Johnson is excellent. It's been said that they didn't like each other in real life, so that may have helped.

The music in this movie isn't my favorite. There aren't really any stand-out songs, they're just all mediocre. They threw in a Christmas song at the end and I think it's pretty obvious that they were trying to repeat the success of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" from Meet Me in St. Louis, but they failed miserably. I usually just fast-forward over that song.

Some of my favorite things about In the Good Old Summertime:
- The out of control flailing during "I Don't Care."
- The extremely creepy guy in the barbershop quartet. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it.
- Everything Judy does while singing "Put Your Arms Around Me Honey."
- Basically the whole scene in the restaurant with Mr. Larkin bugging Miss Fisher. Especially the look on her face when he calls her an old maid.

I think it's required that I mention that it is in fact Liza Minnelli in the last scene. I always thought she looked rather bewildered and unresponsive. I don't think anyone would have guessed at that time that she'd go on to be successful in the entertainment industry.

1 comment:

Travis said...

I too am a big fan of 'In the Good Old Summertime.' Regarding little Liza's bewildered response, I recall reading an interview with Liza some years ago in which she describes this cameo role. According to Liza, on the day of shooting she was allowed to dress herself however she inadvertently forgot to put on her panties. Thus, when Van Johnson picked her up at the end of the movie, she felt his cold hand on her little bottom, thus explaining her bewildered expression!