The Harvey Girls


1h 42m 1946
The Harvey Girls

Brief Synopsis

Straitlaced waitresses battle saloon girls to win the West for domesticity.

Photos & Videos

The Harvey Girls - Judy Garland Publicity Stills
The Harvey Girls - Movie Posters
The Harvey Girls - Lobby Card

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Western
Release Date
Jan 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Harvey Girls by Samuel Hopkins Adams (New York, 1942).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,097ft (13 reels)

Synopsis

In the 1880's, as the Santa Fe rail line expands westward into the American frontier, Harvey House restaurants open one after another at train stops along the way. Hoping to find work at Harvey's newest restaurant in Sand Rock, New Mexico, young women from all over the country board trains for the small Western town. With few exceptions, most of the young women traveling to Sand Rock are going there to work for the Harvey House. Susan Bradley, however, is going there to meet H. H. Hartsey, an eloquent letter-writer whom she has never met, but has consented to marry. En route to Sand Rock, Susan befriends some of the waitresses. Soon after arriving in Sand Rock, Susan meets the roughhewn Hartsey, but they both immediately agree that they are mismatched and call off the wedding. When Hartsey tells Susan that his letters were written by Ned Trent, co-owner of the Alhambra Saloon, she marches over there and calls Ned a "yellow dog." Trent tries to make amends with Susan by offering to pay her way back to Ohio, but she refuses to take his money and promises to run him and his disreputable saloon out of town. Soon after taking a job at the Harvey House, Susan proves her resolve to get tough with the Alhambra when she bursts into the saloon with two six-shooters, and demands the return of meat stolen from the Harvey House.

One night, when Alhambra men fire a shot into the Harvey Girls' dormitory, Susan and other waitresses declare that the feud between the two establishments has officially begun. Susan sets out to find the culprit, and at the Alhambra, she is confronted by Em, a sharp-witted, jealous barmaid who is in love with Ned. Susan later finds Ned alone in a remote valley, and the two spark a romance. They seal their love with a kiss and return to town, where Ned, hearing screams coming from the Harvey House, shoots a rattlesnake that was placed there by his nefarious business partner, Judge Sam Purvis. Ned warns Purvis to stop harassing the Harvey Girls, but when plans are announced to move the Alhambra to Flagstaff, Arizona, Purvis sets fire to the restaurant. The Harvey Girls lose their restaurant in the blaze, but Ned sees to it that they are able to reopen it in the Alhambra saloon. As the employees of the Alhambra prepare to leave Sand Rock for Flagstaff, both Susan and Ned decide at the last minute to leave their work and start a new life together. In the confusion of the train station, however, Susan and Ned nearly miss each other. Em, who has a change of heart, reunites the couple by pulling the emergency brake cord to stop the train.

Cast

Judy Garland

Susan Bradley

John Hodiak

Ned Trent

Ray Bolger

Chris Maule

Angela Lansbury

Em

Preston Foster

Judge Sam Purvis

Virginia O'brien

Alma

Kenny Baker

Terry O'Halloran

Marjorie Main

Sonora Cassidy

Chill Wills

H. H. Hartsey

Selena Royle

Miss Bliss

Cyd Charisse

Deborah

Ruth Brady

Ethel

Jack Lambert

Marty Peters

Edward Earle

Jed Adams

Morris Ankrum

Rev. Claggett

Wm. "bill" Phillips

1st cowboy

Ben Carter

John Henry

Norman Leavitt

2nd cowboy

Horace Mcnally

"Goldust" McClean

Catherine Mcleod

Louise

Virginia Hunter

Jane

Bill Hall

Big Joe

Al Rhein

Dealer

Charles Regan

Dealer

Lee Phelps

Player

John Merton

Player

Tom Quinn

Player

Ray Teal

Conductor

Robert E. O'connor

Conductor

Paul Newlan

Station agent

Al Kunde

Rancher

Frank Austin

Rancher

Tex Cooper

Rancher

Vincent Graeff

Boy

Sam Garrett

Trick roper

Thelma Joel

Alhambra girl

Gwen Donovan

Alhambra girl

Katherine York

Alhambra girl

Georgia Davis

Alhambra girl

Eleanor Troy

Alhambra girl

Dallas Worth

Alhambra girl

Dona Dax

Alhambra girl

Vera Lee

Alhambra girl

Emily Smith

Alhambra girl

Herberta Williams

Alhambra girl

Edith Motridge

Alhambra girl

Melba Snowden

Alhambra girl

Jane Hale

Alhambra girl

Virginia Engels

Alhambra girl

Shirley Patterson

Harvey girl

Dorothy Tuttle

Harvey girl

Meredyth Durrell

Harvey girl

Eleanor Bayley

Harvey girl

Dorothy Gilmore

Harvey girl

Lucille Casey

Harvey girl

Virginia Casey

Harvey girl

Mary Mullen

Harvey girl

Joan Carey

Harvey girl

Ruth Merman

Harvey girl

King Charles, A Horse

Judge Purvis' horse

Loulie Jean Norman

Specialty performer

Dorothy Jackson

Specialty performer

Judy Matson

Specialty performer

Mary Moder

Specialty performer

Ruth Clark

Specialty performer

Jimmie Garland

Specialty performer

Dorothy Wilkerson

Specialty performer

Vivian Edwards

Specialty performer

Joe Karnes

Specialty performer

Kenneth Rundquist

Specialty performer

Claude Martin

Specialty performer

Arnet Amos

Specialty performer

Crew

Robert Akst

Film Editor

Robert Alton

Musical numbers staged by

Edmund Beloin

Screenwriter

Robert Bronner

2nd Camera

Earl Cates

Music mixer

Harry Crane

Screenwriter

Nathaniel Curtis

Screenwriter

Mark Davis

Matte paintings, Camera

Jack Dawn

Makeup created by

Marion Doenges

Singing voice double for Cyd Charisse

Roger Edens

Associate Producer

William R. Edmondson

Unit mixer

William Ferrari

Art Director

George Folsey

Director of Photography

Arthur Freed

Producer

Cedric Gibbons

Art Director

A. Arnold Gillespie

Transparency projection shots

Eleanore Griffin

Original Story

Mildred Griffiths

Associate (Sets)

Lennie Hayton

Music Director

Irene

Costume Supervisor

Henri Jaffa

Associate (Color)

Natalie Kalmus

Technicolor Color Consultant

Standish J. Lambert

Re-rec and Effects mixer

M. J. Maclaughlin

Music mixer

Johnny Mercer

Composer

Warren Newcombe

Special Effects

James O'hanlon

Screenwriter

William Rankin

Original Story

Samson Raphaelson

Screenwriter

Virginia Rees

Singing voice double for Angela Lansbury

George Rhein

Assistant Director

George Richelavie

Research Director

Helen Rose

Costume Designer by

Conrad Salinger

Orchestration

Douglas Shearer

Recording Director

Robert W. Shirley

Re-rec and Effects mixer

Newell Sparks

Re-rec and Effects mixer

William Steinkamp

Re-rec and Effects mixer

Michael Steinore

Re-rec and Effects mixer

Kay Thompson

Vocal Arrangements

Valles

Men's Costume

Kay Van Riper

Additional Dialogue

Harry Warren

Composer

Bea Whitney

Assistant research Director

John A. Williams

Re-rec and Effects mixer

Edwin B. Willis

Set Decoration

Photo Collections

The Harvey Girls - Judy Garland Publicity Stills
Here are a few stills of Judy Garland, taken to publicize her film, The Harvey Girls (1946).
The Harvey Girls - Movie Posters
Here is a group of American movie posters from The Harvey Girls (1946), including a 1-sheet signed by several in the cast and crew.
The Harvey Girls - Lobby Card
Here is a lobby card from MGM's The Harvey Girls (1946), starring Judy Garland, John Hodiak, and Angela Lansbury. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Western
Release Date
Jan 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Harvey Girls by Samuel Hopkins Adams (New York, 1942).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,097ft (13 reels)

Award Wins

Best Song

1946

Award Nominations

Best Score

1946

Articles

The Harvey Girls


Judy Garland got one of her biggest song hits by accepting a film she didn't really want to do and had started out as another star's project in the first place. The Harvey Girls (1946) came about through the kind of happy accidents that only could happen in Hollywood.

The story started as a novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams based on the real-life restaurant chain that had helped civilize the West. With waitresses of certified good character, the Harvey houses provided a reliable source of family dining for travelers in the Southwest during the latter part of the 19th century.

MGM originally bought rights to the novel in hopes that it would inspire a dramatic film for rising star Lana Turner. Then associate producer Roger Edens saw a tryout performance of Oklahoma! in New Haven. He knew a hit when he saw it and realized that the trailblazing musical probably wouldn't be available to the screen for years (it wasn't filmed until 1955). So he came up with the idea of turning The Harvey Girls into a western musical at MGM, with Judy Garland as a high-spirited waitress.

Only Garland wasn't interested. She had wanted to work with Fred Astaire for years and thought a project Arthur Freed was developing for him, Yolanda and the Thief (1945), would finally give her the chance. In addition, her husband, Vincente Minnelli was directing it, and the two were trying to work together whenever possible. Edens convinced her that the female lead in Yolanda and the Thief wouldn't be a big enough role for her, and promised that The Harvey Girls would be built around her talents.

It took eight writers to turn The Harvey Girls into a movie, with Samson Raphaelson, who had written some of Ernst Lubitsch's best films, tying them all together. The result was a showcase for Garland's comic, dramatic and musical skills, while also offering juicy supporting roles to deadpan comedienne Virginia O'Brien, sultry Angela Lansbury and a young dancer named Cyd Charisse, who had her first speaking part in the picture.

Best of all was the score by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer, which included a tribute to the railroad that helped win the West, "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe." The number was inspired by Garland's hit from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), "The Trolley Song," and like it was almost an instant hit. Garland recorded it on her own, but the top-selling version featured lyricist Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers. It held the number one spot on the hit parade for eight weeks. As was the custom then, MGM released the song to recording companies before the film was even finished. In fact, Bing Crosby's version of it was playing on the radio as director George Sidney drove to MGM to film the number.

"On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" picked up the Oscar® for Best Song, the first of four awards Mercer would receive in that category. But even on Oscar® night there was a crisis. Garland had been scheduled to perform the song, but came down with stage fright at the last minute. Bing Crosby would have been the logical choice to replace her, and he had been scheduled to sing another song, but then he got stage fright. Finally, Dinah Shore, who also was scheduled to perform, agreed to do the number.

Director: George Sidney
Producer: Arthur Freed
Screenwriter: Edmund Beloin, Harry Crane, Nathaniel Curtis, James O'Hanlon, Samson Raphaelson
Cinematographer: George Folsey
Composer: Lennie Hayton, Harry Warren
Editor: Albert Akst
Art Director: William Ferrari, Cedric Gibbons
Songwriter: Roger Edens, Johnny Mercer, Kay Thompson
Costume Designer: Helen Rose, Irene Valles
Cast: Judy Garland (Susan Bradley), John Hodiak (Ned Trent), Ray Bolger (Chris Maule), Angela Lansbury (Em), Marjorie Main (Sonora Cassidy), Cyd Charisse (Deborah), Ben Carter (John Henry).
C-102m. Closed captioning. Descriptive video.

by Frank Miller
The Harvey Girls

The Harvey Girls

Judy Garland got one of her biggest song hits by accepting a film she didn't really want to do and had started out as another star's project in the first place. The Harvey Girls (1946) came about through the kind of happy accidents that only could happen in Hollywood. The story started as a novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams based on the real-life restaurant chain that had helped civilize the West. With waitresses of certified good character, the Harvey houses provided a reliable source of family dining for travelers in the Southwest during the latter part of the 19th century. MGM originally bought rights to the novel in hopes that it would inspire a dramatic film for rising star Lana Turner. Then associate producer Roger Edens saw a tryout performance of Oklahoma! in New Haven. He knew a hit when he saw it and realized that the trailblazing musical probably wouldn't be available to the screen for years (it wasn't filmed until 1955). So he came up with the idea of turning The Harvey Girls into a western musical at MGM, with Judy Garland as a high-spirited waitress. Only Garland wasn't interested. She had wanted to work with Fred Astaire for years and thought a project Arthur Freed was developing for him, Yolanda and the Thief (1945), would finally give her the chance. In addition, her husband, Vincente Minnelli was directing it, and the two were trying to work together whenever possible. Edens convinced her that the female lead in Yolanda and the Thief wouldn't be a big enough role for her, and promised that The Harvey Girls would be built around her talents. It took eight writers to turn The Harvey Girls into a movie, with Samson Raphaelson, who had written some of Ernst Lubitsch's best films, tying them all together. The result was a showcase for Garland's comic, dramatic and musical skills, while also offering juicy supporting roles to deadpan comedienne Virginia O'Brien, sultry Angela Lansbury and a young dancer named Cyd Charisse, who had her first speaking part in the picture. Best of all was the score by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer, which included a tribute to the railroad that helped win the West, "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe." The number was inspired by Garland's hit from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), "The Trolley Song," and like it was almost an instant hit. Garland recorded it on her own, but the top-selling version featured lyricist Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers. It held the number one spot on the hit parade for eight weeks. As was the custom then, MGM released the song to recording companies before the film was even finished. In fact, Bing Crosby's version of it was playing on the radio as director George Sidney drove to MGM to film the number. "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" picked up the Oscar® for Best Song, the first of four awards Mercer would receive in that category. But even on Oscar® night there was a crisis. Garland had been scheduled to perform the song, but came down with stage fright at the last minute. Bing Crosby would have been the logical choice to replace her, and he had been scheduled to sing another song, but then he got stage fright. Finally, Dinah Shore, who also was scheduled to perform, agreed to do the number. Director: George Sidney Producer: Arthur Freed Screenwriter: Edmund Beloin, Harry Crane, Nathaniel Curtis, James O'Hanlon, Samson Raphaelson Cinematographer: George Folsey Composer: Lennie Hayton, Harry Warren Editor: Albert Akst Art Director: William Ferrari, Cedric Gibbons Songwriter: Roger Edens, Johnny Mercer, Kay Thompson Costume Designer: Helen Rose, Irene Valles Cast: Judy Garland (Susan Bradley), John Hodiak (Ned Trent), Ray Bolger (Chris Maule), Angela Lansbury (Em), Marjorie Main (Sonora Cassidy), Cyd Charisse (Deborah), Ben Carter (John Henry). C-102m. Closed captioning. Descriptive video. by Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Marion Doenges dubbed Cyd Charisse' singing.

Byron Harvey Jr., who plays the uncredited role of a train conductor who keeps good time, was the grandson of Fred Harvey and President of the Fred Harvey Company at the time of the filming.

Angela Lansbury was often hissed at in public after this film was released, simply because she played Judy Garland's rival, and Garland was so beloved.

Alma, the character, portrayed by Virginia O'Brien, is noticeably absent from the movie after she sings her "Wild, Wild West" song number. She was pregnant at the time she made this movie and this may account for her absence.

Virginia O'Brien is noticeably absent from the second half of the film, right after her "Wild, Wild West" number, mostly because she was pregnant during filming.

Notes

The film's opening credits acknowledge the "help of the Fred Harvey Company on many historical details" in the picture. The following written dedication appears at the beginning of the film, after the opening credits: "When Fred Harvey pushed his chain of restaurants farther and farther west along the lengthening track of the Santa Fe, he brought with him one of the first civilizing forces this land has known-The Harvey Girls. The winsome waitresses conquered the West as surely as the Davy Crocketts and the Kit Carsons-not with powder horn and rifle, but with a beefsteak and a cup of coffee. To these unsung pioneers, whose successors today still carry on in the same tradition, we sincerely dedicate this motion picture."
       Although the story of the film is fictional, many of the pictured details concerning the establishment of Fred Harvey restaurants across the western United States in the late 1800's are based in fact. The first Harvey House opened in Topeka, KS in the late 1870's, after which many more were established along the Santa Fe rail line west to the Pacific coast. The opening credits indicate that the picture was based on Samuel Hopkins Adams' novel and on an original story by Eleanore Griffin and William Rankin. A Variety news item reported that a U.S. District Court judge ruled in Loew's, Inc.'s favor in a suit filed by former Santa Fe railroad man Clifford Funkhouser, who alleged that M-G-M had "pirated" his story about the famed Harvey girls.
       An M-G-M News item found in the AMPAS Library production file on the film, and believed to be from 1944, notes that actress Ann Sothern was set for a starring role in the film along with Judy Garland. A January 1944 New York Times news item noted that Lana Turner would "most likely" be starred in the film. Although a December 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Edward Arnold was cast in the part of "the big town boss," and although he was listed in the cast in the Hollywood Reporter production charts, he did not appear in the released film. According to M-G-M studio publicity information, "King Charles," the horse that Preston Foster rode in the film, was the same horse featured in the 1944 M-G-M film National Velvet (see below). Studio records also indicate that two years of research was completed to recreate the film's authentic sets and backgrounds of late nineteenth century New Mexico. Props for the Alhambra Bar and Dance Hall were rented from the Pony Express Museum. A February 1945 Hollywood Citizen-News article noted that two units were used to shoot background scenes. Some filming took place in Victorville and Chatsworth, CA, and in Monument Valley, AZ. According to modern sources, writer Hagar Wilde was assigned to the film. Modern sources also note that some scenes between Ray Bolger and Virginia O'Brien were cut from the final film, and that other scenes between them were never filmed because O'Brien's pregnancy was becoming noticeable.
       Three Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren songs that were recorded for the film but cut before its release were: "March of the Doagies," "Hayride" and "My Intuition." Warren and Mercer received an Academy Award for their song "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," and Lennie Hayton received a nomination for his musical score.