19 February 2017 | TheLittleSongbird
While the film is just average, Judy is above that
Not an awful film, but also not a great one. While Judy Garland doesn't disappoint, generally as an overall whole 'Everybody Sings' is one of her weaker films along with 'Presenting Lily Mars' and 'Little Nellie Kelly'.
Judy is certainly the best thing about it. It was always going to be interesting seeing her before her iconic performance in 'The Wizard of Oz', and while it is not one of her best performance she is endearingly winsome, playful and heartfelt and sings an absolute dream. Not all the cast work, but Reginalds Owen and Gardiner are fun and despite having less than subtle characters they avoid being too hammy. Fanny Brice is mostly amusingly zany, and Lynne Carver is lovely.
The songs aren't amazing and most don't stand the test of time, but they are still very pleasant, with enough fun and emotion, and well performed. They are mostly energetically and gracefully staged, again not outstanding but little of it is overblown and it's hardly static or indifferent either. 'Everybody Sings' looks good in crisp black and white, handsome enough without being lavish.
As said though, not all the cast work. While Allan Jones sounds lovely, he comes over as a very wooden actor, while Billie Burke flutters shrilly to a very annoying degree. While the song and dance numbers are above average on the whole, "Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot" is not for the faint hearted (there are definitely worse examples of black-face and one is very much aware that they were popular then, but that doesn't mean people should like them) and the finale is over-cooked.
Some of the script is witty and charming, others are excessively corny and sentimental, with some of the humour that works well in other media not working well on film (especially the "Baby Snooks" routine). The story is thin and old as the hills, with some parts that feel contrived and parts in the second half that drag.
In summary, average film as an overall whole but Judy is great and the film is worth a one-time watch for her. 5/10 Bethany Cox