If all the energy used by Mickey Rooney in making Babes on Broadway could be assembled in one place, there would be enough to sustain a flying fortress in the stratosphere from Hollywood to New York and return, non-stop. And there might be some left over. Teamed with Judy Garland in a filmusical which is very similar to their previous efforts, Rooney is as fresh as the proverbial daisy at the end of two hours of strenuous theatrical calisthenics. He dances, sings, acts and does imitations – dozens of them.
There isn’t time to catch one’s breath from the opening moment to the closing fadeout of Rooney and Garland giving their all in one of those Metro production numbers, where the stage, the scenery, the actors and some of the audience are doing a gigantic revolution around the camera. In between, there is related a story [by Fred Finklehoffe] about young performers battling for their ‘chance’ on Broadway.
Busby Berkeley directs this sort of thing about as well as anybody. But both Rooney and Garland are fast outgrowing this type of presentation, which depends entirely on the ah’s and oh’s that spring from watching precocious children.
1942: Nomination: Best Song (‘How About You’)