Friday, January 27, 2012

121. Babes In Arms

Babes In Arms
Directed by Busby Berkeley

Got to love that awkward moment in the 1001 journey when there is a blackface scene.  Of course Mickey Rooney would be the actor that wore blackface.  Seriously, what is with that guy?

This movie is just not good, period.  The dance scenes are ridiculously unimpressive by Busby standards.  I actually had to double check to see if he was really the choreographer.  Judy Garland is slightly off putting at the best of times and I hate Mickey Rooney.  The film follows these two nuts as they try to make their way in show business like their parents before them.

I could go on, but I think this picture really just says it all.


Interesting Facts:

Highest grossing film of 1939 for MGM; it even surpassed The Wizard of Oz.  Really?!?!

One of the not-so-bad songs in this film:


  1. She really did have a beautiful voice. Too bad about the rest of the movie!

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  3. I wrote a comment about how I actually kind of liked this movie before I got to the minstrel show number so I had to delete. I was literally watching it with my mouth wide open. OMG so racist I feel like a worse person for seeing it. Ewwwwww

  4. It's a Micky Rooney / Judy Garland movie. 'Nuff said.
    And to think I had to pay good money to but an import of this from the USA...

  5. Ugh I agree with all of you. I can understand movies like Birth of a Nation being on the list even though they are disgustingly racist but this one? Sometimes I hate the list makers.

  6. Never mind the racism, this movie is plain stupid. After the Good Morning song I hated everything else.

  7. I was just trying to remember if this was the one with the weird baby number. So weird that this is on the List.

  8. What a turkey this was! Even appearances from Guy Kibbee and Margaret Hamilton couldn't save it. Judy Garland wasn't all bad I suppose, but generally this stank/stunk/stinked. Mickey Rooney was clearly very talented but too much of this was a forced showcase for his set pieces. A better director might have told him when to tone it down, when to let the audience come to him rather than the other way around.

    Still, finally we get to the Busby Berkeley dance number, which could be the only thing to rescue a film this bad. Except it's blackface.

    *jaw drops*

    It's always hard to know how to take blackface in old movies, be it The Jazz Singer or Fred Astaire. All we can do is accept that it was a standard piece of song & dance at the time and know that no offence was intended. By and large it's an incidental piece of costume. But this drags out every offensive stereotype you can think of. I'd be interested know more about whether this really raised no questions at the time for its content.

  9. I'm very aware that this is my first step into the legendary 1939, oft invoked as the best year in cinema history. Hmmm, a bad start. And you say that, despite the large number of classics released that year, that this out-grossed them all??

  10. We seem to have a rare clean sweep of 'no thanks'