Saturday, June 10, 2017


(Post 3 of 20) 

Mickey and Judy perform in Babes in Arms

Hey, gang! Let's Put on a Show!

Babes in Arms is the most famous and most popular of the Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland films.  The story is basically Mickey (also his character's name) putting on a show with his girl Judy in order to prove that show biz is a viable career option. It is a funny thing for him to have to prove to his folks since his parents are also in the business... but there you have it.

The film is pure escapism. If you aren't willing to step into it's "let's put on a show" mentality, you probably aren't going to get into it. It has loads of fun songs (The title track, Good Morning ) and an awful lot of frantic energy from Mr. Rooney. I am keeping in mind that this was the year that World War II was on the horizon and what people really wanted to see was escapist fare like Babes in Arms. It 's still fun to watch Babes in Arms today for a movie history fan.There is a minstrel scene (Judy Garland in blackface is more than a little weird) that is a bit uncomfortable to sit through by modern standards.

Margaret Hamilton (center) lays down the law to Guy Kibee
in Babes in Arms
And the Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award goes to...Margaret Hamilton. Hamilton is best known as The Wicked Witch/Elmira Gulch in The Wizard of Oz. It is funny seeing her again as an uptight spinster (did she ever play anything else?) trying to get those wild show biz kids away from their irresponsible parents and on the road to being accountants or pediatricians. Hamilton made many appearances in films over the years (Angels Wash Their Faces, My Little Chickadee) and television (The Partridge Family, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood!). She also had a hilarious turn in Robert Altman's Brewster McCloud where she finally gets the ruby slippers back! However, during the seventies, she achieved a new level of fame in commercials as Cora, the shopkeeper who will sell no coffee in her store except for Maxwell House.

Margaret Hamilton in one of her many commercials
as Cora, the Queen of Maxwell House


  1. Except for the first song (Good Morning) this movie was to me a complete letdown. Mickey Rooney is a large part of it and "Frantic Energy" does not even come close. I remember at this point ('39) I had warmed up to Berkely, but with one it all came crashing down. Sorry.

  2. I won't argue that Rooney can be a bit much at times. I'd also say that if I was recommending one Berkley movie, I'd certainly go with 42nd Street or Gold Diggers of 1933 over this one.