Cast & Crew
Robert E. Strickland
After New York playboy Danny Churchill, Jr.'s latest Broadway escapade makes scandalous headlines, his publisher father, Danny, Sr., announces that he is sending Danny to Cody, a small mining college out West. Upon disembarking in Cody village, Danny discovers he must walk eight miles through the desert to get to the college's campus. Although his father had assured him that there would be no women in Cody, Danny soon meets young, attractive Ginger Gray, whose car has broken down. Ginger, the local postmistress, is aware of Danny's reputation and laughingly rejects his advances, driving off without him after he gets her car running. Danny finally reaches campus and meets his roommate, Bud Livermore, who fills him in on the school's rigorous schedule.
The following dawn, Bud and his fellow students cajole the sleepy-eyed Danny into participating in a day-long horse ride to a wilderness camp. To prove his mettle, Danny insists on riding Whitey, the school's wildest horse, but soon regrets his bravado when the animal takes off at full speed. After Whitey throws Danny, Rags, an ex-New York taxicab driver who now works for the college, gives him a ride in his buckboard. By the time Rags delivers Danny to the camp, Ginger has arrived with dinner, and once again snubs the tenderfoot. The next day, convinced that he will never fit in at Cody, Danny goes to see Dean Phineas Armour, Ginger's grandfather, and announces that he is returning East. Ginger drives Danny to the village, and along the way, Danny resumes his flirtation, sneaking in a kiss before parting. That night, the students of Cody throw an elaborate birthday party for the popular Ginger.
Unaware that Danny has returned to campus and is eavesdropping on him, the manly if unromantic Henry Lathrop then proposes to Ginger, but she gently turns him down. After Henry leaves, Danny reveals himself to Ginger and confesses that he has decided to stay at Cody in order to be near her. As proof of his commitment, Danny offers Ginger his grandmother's locket, but she urges him to hold on to it for luck. Later, Danny gives Rags a message to wire to his father, which Rags then hands to a clerk, who reads it aloud in front of Henry and other Cody students. Although in the wire, Danny informs his father that he is staying, his derogatory comments about Cody infuriate the students. After Henry brings the matter up to the Cody student council, Dean Armour calls both young men into his office and orders them to declare a truce. Soon after, Ginger hears a radio report that, because of low enrollment at Cody, Governor Tait will be signing legislation closing the school.
Anxious to help the despondent Ginger, Danny comes up with an idea for Cody to sponsor an annual rodeo and beauty contest as a way of attracting new students. Danny and Ginger then present the governor with the plan, and he agrees to delay signing the legislation for thirty days. To assure the plan's success, Danny attends the coming-out party of the governor's daughter Marjorie and flatters attractive debutantes into agreeing to enter the beauty contest. During the evening, Marjorie flirts openly with Danny and, to his chagrin, snatches his locket from him. Later, at the beauty contest, Danny swears his love to Ginger, but proclaims Marjorie the contest's winner.
When Ginger then sees Danny's locket around Marjorie's neck, she assumes the worst and starts packing to go East. Danny is determined not to her lose her, however, and presents her with the locket, which he had retrieved from Marjorie, and swears his fidelity. Danny and Ginger then rush together to show Dean Armour the two hundred enrollment applications that have been sent by girls who want to enter Cody, and convince him to make the school co-educational. Their problems solved, Danny and Ginger sing and dance together in the rodeo show.
Robert E. Strickland
Jess Lee Brooks
Joseph Gail Jr.
William Beaudine Jr.
George Offerman Jr.
Mary Jane French
Melissa Ten Eyck
Harry C. Bradley
Fred F. Finklehoffe
Edwin B. Willis
Girl Crazy (1943) - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Girl Crazy (1943) - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Girl Crazy (1943)
Originally a George and Ira Gershwin stage hit, Girl Crazy had been filmed by RKO in 1932, starring Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey in a version that put the emphasis on comedy and gave short shrift to the show's wonderful songs. MGM bought the property in 1939 and considered using it as a follow-up vehicle for Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell after Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940). But music supervisor and Garland mentor Roger Edens had other plans, convincing his reluctant star (who was impatient to move on to adult roles) that this was a perfect vehicle for one more re-teaming of her and Mickey as rambunctious teens. Girl Crazy casts Rooney as an irresponsible young playboy who's sent to a Western mining school where Garland, as the dean's daughter, helps straighten him out. Together they save the financially strapped college by staging a rodeo/beauty contest/musical extravaganza. Garland's character, called Ginger Gray, was played onstage by Ginger Rogers.
The Mickey-Judy version of Girl Crazy, produced by MGM's prestigious Arthur Freed unit, restores the show's entire score and adds "Fascinatin' Rhythm" from another Gershwin musical, Lady Be Good. Rooney and Garland are at their irrepressible best on "Could You Use Me?" and "I Got Rhythm," while Garland solos (or sings with the chorus) on "Bidin' My Time," "Embraceable You" and a heart-rending "But Not For Me." June Allyson, then at the beginning of her MGM career, energetically partners Rooney on "Treat Me Rough." Rooney, quite impressively, plays piano with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra during "Fascinatin' Rhythm."
Busby Berkeley, who had previously directed Rooney and Garland in their biggest co-starring hits, Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940) and Babes on Broadway (1941), also was signed to direct Girl Crazy. But he was removed from the film after staging only one number, a typically elaborate finale built around "I Got Rhythm." Berkeley clashed over staging ideas with Edens, who complained of the director's "big ensembles and trick cameras... with people cracking whips and guns and cannons going off all over my arrangements and Judy's voice." Garland also had grown resentful of Berkeley's demanding ways and would later say, "I used to feel as if he had a big black bull whip and he was lashing me with it. Sometimes I used to think I couldn't live through the day."
Happily, the director brought in as Berkeley's replacement, Norman Taurog, had a calmer approach that allowed more attention to be focused on the talent at hand and less on frenetic production numbers. Film historian Frank N. Magill has written that "Taurog's direction and staging of the musical numbers" in Girl Crazy "reflected the beginnings of a new style in film musicals." This new, "integrated" approach allowed the songs and dances to express character development. The performing room given Rooney and Garland was reflected in the reviews, including Theodore Strauss's comment in The New York Times that "the immortal Mickey... is an entertainer to his fingertips. And with Judy, who sings and acts like an earthbound angel, to temper his brashness, well, they can do almost anything they wish, and we'll like it even in spite of ourselves."
Producer: Arthur Freed
Director: Norman Taurog
Screenplay: Fred F. Finklehoffe, Dorothy Kingsley, William Ludwig, Sid Silvers, from play by Guy Bolton and Jack McGowan
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Cinematography: William H. Daniels, Robert H. Planck
Costume Design: Irene Sharaff
Editing: Albert Akst
Original Music: George and Ira Gershwin
Choreographer: Busby Berkeley
Principal Cast: Mickey Rooney (Danny Churchill Jr.), Judy Garland (Ginger Gray), Gil Stratton (Bud Livermore), Robert E. Strickland (Henry Lathrop), Rags Ragland (Rags), June Allyson (Specialty Solo), Nancy Walker (Polly Williams), Tommy Dorsey (Himself).
BW-99m. Closed captioning.
by Roger Fristoe
Girl Crazy (1943)
Charles Walters' onscreen credit reads: "Dance Direction and Solo Dance with Miss Garland by Charles Walters." In addition to the above-listed numbers, excerpts from George Gershwin's Girl Crazy score are also heard, including "Broncho Busters," "Sam and Delilah," "When It's Cactus Time in Arizona," "Barbary Coast" and "Boy! What Love Has Done to Me." According to modern sources, a "Broncho Busters" production number, sung by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and Nancy Walker, was cut from the final film.
Rooney plays the piano with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra during the "Fascinating Rhythm" number. Although CBCS lists Sidney Miller in the role of "Ed," he did not appear in the final film. Hollywood Reporter news items add the following information about the production: In August 1939, M-G-M announced that Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell would star in the picture. Later, Richard Quine, Virginia Weidler, Ray McDonald and Van Johnson, who was to make his singing debut, were announced as cast members. None of these actors appeared in the final film, however. Busby Berkeley began as the film's director but was replaced by Norman Taurog in early February 1943. According to a February 1, 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item, Berkeley left the production due to illness, but modern sources contend that he was fired by producer Arthur Freed because of excessive spending on the "I Got Rhythm" number. Modern sources add that Freed later claimed that Berkeley, who received an onscreen credit for his direction of the "I Got Rhythm" number, was dismissed due to a personality clash with Garland. According to Hollywood Reporter, Jack Donohue worked on the film as dance director, and Sheila Rae was his assistant. Although not credited onscreen, it is possible that Donohue and Rae worked on the film while Berkeley was directing. In mid-January 1943, Hollywood Reporter announced that dancer Jack Boyle was "helping with the dance routines," but the exact nature of his contribution has not been determined.
Girl Crazy was the last film in which Garland and Rooney, a popular M-G-M team, appeared together. Prior to being cast in the film, Garland made a best-selling recording of "Embraceable You." Showgirl Kathleen "Kay" Williams, who some years later married Clark Gable, made her screen debut in the film. Gil Stratton, a former Broadway musical player, also made his debut in the picture. In later years, Stratton worked as a television sports announcer in Los Angeles. Frances Ward and Aileen Morris were announced as cast members in December 1942, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to Hollywood Reporter, the Leo Diamond Harmonia Band accompanied Garland and The King's Men on the "Bidin' My Time" number, but their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Some scenes in the film were shot in the desert, 150 miles from Los Angeles. According to modern sources, Girl Crazy was one of the top box office films of 1943.
The Gershwins' musical was first adapted for the screen in 1932. William A. Seiter directed Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey and Dorothy Lee in the RKO Radio picture, also titled Girl Crazy. Norman Taurog directed retakes for the earlier film (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1587). In 1965, Alvin Ganzer directed Connie Francis and Herman's Hermits in When the Boys Meet the Girls, M-G-M's second version of the musical (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.5521).