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Thousands Cheer (1943) had nothing to do with the popular Irving Berlin musical "As Thousands Cheer," produced on stage in 1933. Instead, the MGM musical was conceived by its producer, Joe Pasternak, as a simple musical entertainment about a wartime romance between a soldier (Gene Kelly) and a colonel's daughter (Kathryn Grayson), with an army camp concert as a diversion. But given the timbre of the Second World War's distant cannons resonating over the nation, the need for a morale-boosting extravaganza was needed and welcomed. And so the studio decided to saturate the film with cameos, specialty numbers and songs by some of the biggest stars on the MGM lot.
One of the more memorable highlights of Thousands Cheer features Mickey Rooney doing dead-on impressions of two of his MGM colleagues, Lionel Barrymore and recent enlistee Clark Gable, from their film, Test Pilot (1938). You can also see Judy Garland, accompanied by Jose Iturbi in his film debut, performing "The Joint is Really Jumpin' in Carnegie Hall," an ice-cream eating contest between Red Skelton and little Margaret O'Brien, Lena Horne singing "Honeysuckle Rose," and Gene Kelly's famous mop dance. Lucille Ball, Eleanor Powell, Donna Reed, Mary Astor, Ann Sothern, June Allyson, and Kay Kyser and His Orchestra are just a few of the other MGM stars that turn up in this lavish spectacle that received Oscar® nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Music Score.
Director: George Sidney
Producer: Joe Pasternak
Screenplay: Paul Jarrico, Richard Collins II
Cinematography: George J. Folsey
Editor: George Boemler
Music: Herbert Stothart
Cast: Kathryn Grayson (Kathryn Jones), Gene Kelly (Eddie Marsh), Mary Astor (Hyllary Jones), John Boles (Colonel Jones), Ben Blue (Chuck), Francis Rafferty (Marie), Lena Horne (as herself), Mickey Rooney (as himself), Lucille Ball (as herself), Red Skelton (as himself), Judy Garland (as herself), Eleanor Powell (as herself), Ann Sothern (as herself).
C-126m. Close captioning.
by Scott McGee