Review: ‘Babes in Arms’

Film version of the Rodgers and Hart [1937] musical has been considerably embellished in its transfer to the screen. Basic idea is there, and two songs are retained. Otherwise, it's a greatly enhanced piece of entertainment, with Mickey Rooney having a field day parading his versatile talents.

Film version of the Rodgers and Hart [1937] musical has been considerably embellished in its transfer to the screen. Basic idea is there, and two songs are retained. Otherwise, it’s a greatly enhanced piece of entertainment, with Mickey Rooney having a field day parading his versatile talents.

He sings, dances, gives out with a series of imitations including Eddie Leonard, Clark Gable, Lionel Barrymore, President Roosevelt.

With Judy Garland he sings ‘Good Mornning’, a new tune by Nacio Herb Brown and producer Arthur Freed; he pounds the ivories; he directs a kid show to provide impersonations, and a dinner table sequence, with mixup of decision on the silverware, is an old routine but his technique and timing make for grand fun.

Direction by Busby Berkeley is enthusiastic and at a fast clip throughout.

1939: Nominations: Best Actor (Mickey Rooney), Score

Babes in Arms

Production

M-G-M. Director Busby Berkeley; Producer Arthur Freed; Screenplay Jack MacGowan, Kay Van Riper; Camera Ray June; Editor Frank Sullivan; Music Georgie Stoll (dir.); Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Merrill Pye

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1939. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Mickey Rooney Judy Garland Charles Winninger Guy Kibbee June Preisser
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