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  • Allan Jones and Judy Garland star in one of those wacky backstage musicals that Warner Brothers was better known for in Everybody Sing. With a very talented cast doing the shtick they do best, Everybody Sings comes out as great entertainment.

    The only weakness in this film and it's a big one is the lack of any memorable songs. The best known one in the film is Cosi Cosa which Allan Jones had originally introduced in A Night At the Opera and he sings a couple of lines of, here. The stuff written for the film directly just doesn't measure up.

    If Judy doesn't put on a show as she usually does with Mickey Rooney, she does agree to star in a show to help her family who is going bankrupt. Her father is playwright Reginald Owen and her mother is actress Billie Burke who next year Garland would work with in The Wizard of Oz. Burke is one extravagant ham of an actress who is constantly reciting old play dialog in every given situation and she's very funny. Her extravagance is also driving Owen to the poor house.

    Employed at this house are cook Allan Jones who also sings at a nightclub during the evening and Fanny Brice. I can't quite decide who's funnier in this film, Burke or Brice. It's a good thing that Jones and Garland were the singers that they are because as straight players they could never have held a scene from either of these women.

    Everybody Sing is a great opportunity to see the great Fanny Brice perform. The image we have of her is from Funny Girl and Funny Lady and it's nice to see the real deal. Also Reginald Gardiner is quite good as a ham actor who's courting Lynne Carver, Garland's older sister who Jones is sweet on.

    I only wish some memorable songs came from this film it would have achieved greatness if some had.
  • "Everybody Sings" sports a cast with plenty of talent. Judy Garland stars in this "Let's put on a show" production, featuring Billie Burke and Fanny Brice, among others.

    The story is forgettable. The real action is on stage, where the numbers are highlighted by garlands, gals and an orchestra. I doubt everyone will like the musical performances. They are somewhat dated.

    Billie Burke plays the loquacious wife who voices her every thought (again). Her performance can be annoying, but every once in a while she hits just the right note and she's laugh out loud funny.

    Soon after this production, Judy and Billie would rejoin for "The Wizard of Oz" which, by comparison, shows how mediocre this film is.
  • "Everybody Sing" is a delightful 1938 film filled with music but, as these things go, not much plot. That's okay. Judy plays Judy Bellaire, whose mother (Billie Burke) is a busy actress, and her father (Reginald Owen) is a producer. When Judy gets kicked out of school for turning her classical music into jazz, no one will listen to the reason she's home - they're all too busy. Mom is in rehearsal with her leading man (Reginald Owen), her sister Sylvia (Lynne Carter) is taking a voice lesson, and her father is frantically running around. Judy's only pals in the house are the chef, Ricky Saboni (Allan Jones), who is in love with Sylvia, and the maid (Fanny Brice), an ex-Russian performer.

    Eventually Judy, though underage, gets into a show put on by Ricky, who sings at night in a club. The singing is glorious, Judy singing "Swing Mr. Mendolssohn," "Down to Melody Farm," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and "Ever Since the World Began." Brice does a specialty number, and Jones, in his beautiful tenor, sings "The Show Must Go On," "Cosi-Cosa," and "First Thing in the Morning." Pre-Wizard of Oz, and pretty Judy sings with an incredible maturity of tone.

    Fun, upbeat movie.
  • This is very fun Judy Garland movie before "Oz". It's neat to see Judy in so much trouble! I enjoyed seeing Billie Burke in this before she became immortalized as Glinda in "Oz" also. All the actors give fine performances, and it's a rare treat for Fanny Brice to be in this film. She is hilarious as the Russian maid. Judy steals every scene she's in! Allan Jones also was superb. I am a big Judy Garland fan, so this might seem biased! Sure, the Baby Snooks number might seem a little corny, but overall, I give this 9/10, because I wanted it longer!
  • 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
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Unlike her usual sing between scenes roles from her early period, Judy Garland has more of a featured role in this early film. It's about a wacky theatrical family going broke that's shown up by the servants and their expelled daughter, Judy. It's a typical corny plot for a 1930's musical, but it's made bearable by the outstanding host of talented supporting players. Reginald Owen and the delightfully dizzy Billie Burke are hilarious as the theatrical couple. Reginald Gardiner, Lynne Carver, and Allan Jones play the straight romantic parts. Allan Jones and Fanny Brice, in a rare film appearance, are the servants. Jones' operatic singing is not always endearing in his films, and Brice's Baby Snooks routine looks less appealing on stage than it probably sounded on the radio. The first half of the film moves by at a quick pace with witty dialog and general zaniness; however, the film,oddly enough, drags somewhat in the second half when the film turns to more of a musical focus. A few songs are repeated throughout the film in one form or another, giving us the idea that MGM's budget wasn't large enough. Judy Garland, as the young girl that wants to be on stage, is full of energy and bounce. This is fluffy, madcap entertainment from the Great Depression years. **1/2 of 4 stars.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Love may have found Andy Hardy, but for teenager Judy Bellaire (Judy Garland), it's a thin line between love and hate for her selfish family. Expelled from private boarding school (for turning her music class into a swing session), Judy comes home to find her family uninterested in her problems. Fluttery mom Billie Burke is too busy in hamming it up with the reading of a play with Reginald Gardiner; Papa Reginald Owen, not quite the Wizard of Wall Street, is barking at everybody after bad business deals which left them broke, and sister Lynne Carver is in love with the singing cook (Allan Jones). Garland only wants to help the family and a singing gig at the nightclub where Jones performs on the side leads her to want to pursue a career in the musical theater. She fools her family into thinking she's going to Europe on a school trip and gets into a Broadway show produced by Jones' employer (Henry Armetta), determined to be "Little Miss Fix It" to save a family others would be dying to get out of.

    Even with Jones and Fanny Brice (as the wise-cracking maid) top-billed, it's Garland's show all the way, swingin' out five songs and stealing her way into your heart, even if the movie surrounding her isn't one of her earlier best. Some of Brice's material comes off dated and does not reflect what Streisand would do as her in "Funny Girl" and "Funny Lady". Garland does a cute but semi-tacky black face number (to "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" no less) and plays Little Lord Fauntleroy to Brice's Baby Snooks in the cute "Why? Because?" musical skit that is one of the highlights of the film. Poor Garland couldn't escape from MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer's description of her as his "little hunchback", being referred to by her character's mother Burke as "my poor ugly duckling".

    A nice surprise is the appearance of Monty Woolley literally playing "The Man Who Came to Dinner", actually the producer of a play that Burke longs to star in that gets a dinner invitation to share a squab which never arrives. As a result of all the noise, an irresponsible set of parents and a plot best described as not of this Broadway world, this film is only average, filled with some great moments, but an over-stuffed finale where an already wacky family goes even more batty.
  • As she sang in a Hardy Family movie, Judy was just an "in-between" when her first few movies were made: "too old for toys, not old enough for boys". What plot there is, is an excuse for the musical numbers, most of which are rather lifeless. MGM seemed to be trying to find some place for players under contract, such as Alan Jones and Fannie Brice. Jones is as wooden here as in every other one of his MGMs, this time without the Marx Brothers to detract attention. Fannie Brice was just not a film personality. For someone who remembers her Baby Snooks radio show as quite entertaining, the Snooks routine here is almost embarrassing. Judy was not given any songs in which she could reveal her personality. The last scene was (unintentionally, I suppose) comical, when the entire cast, including Reginald Owen and Billie Burke. simulate a group dance number. This one is only for Garland die-hards interested in her early work. (Actually, she is much more natural in her first feature: Pigskin Parade, since not all the weight is on her shoulders.
  • Movie fans who think great stars are enough to make a film great should see EVERYBODY SING. MGM threw together this vehicle for an assortment of wonderful performers they had under contract, but bad writing spoils it.

    The following year the same studio would do everything right in THE WIZARD OF OZ, also with Garland and Burke, but here they do everything wrong. A stupid plot, bad dialog, and a director who doesn't know how to tone down veteran stage performers for the camera make for a shrill and charmless musical. Humor here consists of everybody yelling at each other, belting out third-rate songs and then reprising them. (Oh no! Here comes THAT lousy number again!)

    Legendary stage and radio comedienne Fanny Brice's inexperience in films is painfully apparent. She gives a performance which would work on stage, but in camera close-up she comes across as hammy and annoying -- bugging her eyes, over-inflecting her lines, and making goofy faces.

    Billie Burke, so funny and charming in THE WIZARD OF OZ and other films, is overbearing and shrieky here. Allan Jones, a handsome and likable young tenor, is wasted; in 1938, with operetta going out of style, the movie business no longer had a place for singers like him and Deanna Durbin.

    The one reason to watch this is to witness the beginnings of the girl who the following year would blossom into the greatest musical performer in the history of film: Judy Garland. Even Judy is too loud and frantic here -- she's still Frances Gumm, vaudeville's "Little Miss Leatherlungs", with her mother hissing from the wings, "Louder, Frances! Smile, baby! Bat your eyes!!" But there are a few moments where Judy's musical phrasing or reading of a line take your breath away -- she's not yet the unique genius she would become, but she's getting there.

    Garland fans should definitely see this, to see her in her "diamond in the rough" stage -- but you'll be in no hurry to see it again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is actually a very good film. I gotta wonder what others are complaining about. Okay there is some dated humor. Some pre WWII Russian humor which is prevalent in some 30's films before cold war cast them as the enemies. What's great about this movie, Judy Garland is in her typical personal problem solving mode. Trying to help her own family in distress. Of course playing the part of a young girl she may be making a little more of the problem that what's happening. But apparently the performing family hasn't been putting out real work. So they are in need of a financial rescue.

    What is great about this movie. Well the script isn't very tight, because at times a song just happens because people are happy. Nothing wrong with that for die hard musical lovers. What makes this film great. Well look at Judy's father, he's such an overblown ham and takes himself too seriously. All the "important" actors in the family who are supposed to be great (in their own eyes) are just hams. And they are in need of rescue. Whereas the "regular" folks who are supposed to be the underclass, Judy and the help are the ones to break into the big time to save the family. It's really great, everyone plays there part really well and if you get to watch these players play other parts, for example watch "THE GOOD FAIRY" before watching this and check out the same actor who plays Judy's father, plays a butler in that movie. It's really a great film.

    Now later films were a little more tight with their plots and the music may have fit the action more. A little less, "Broadway melody" style of musical. In the 30s movies often did musical themes because they tied into "getting on the stage", etc. A simple plot that was in many early musicals, even Fred Astaire movies. So this is a common theme and one in early musicals.

    I could watch this again and again, and I have. For those of you lucky enough to have a Laserdisc copy, this like many other 30s musicals is a treat to watch on laser disk.

    I'm giving it an 8, but in some ways it's almost a 10 for the repeatable enjoyment factor.
  • This is strictly JUDY GARLAND before she became the Judy we all know. Ditto for the ill used FANNY BRICE, whose "Baby Snooks" routine on radio was socko with millions during the '40s but looks bad here.

    The story, a dumb one even for MGM family musicals, is about a bunch of eccentrics in a family that are intent on putting on a show (where have we heard that one before?), and bursting into song numbers at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, none of the numbers are anything worth remembering (or hearing, for that matter). The whole thing falls as flat as a pancake by the time it's even into the middle section.

    BILLIE BURKE does her usual fluttery act as a dizzy mother and MGM was still, at this point, trying to groom ALLAN JONES for stardom, but he's even more wooden than Nelson Eddy ever was. He too is saddled with some hard to like songs to give his tenor pipes a workout.

    As one who enjoyed the best MGM musicals which came along in the '40s, from a studio whose musical talent was the uncontested best, this is simply a foolish yawner with no interest except serving as an early glimpse of JUDY GARLAND, who is unable to overcome this weak kind of rubbish. Same goes for the entire cast.

    Summing up: Strictly below average as entertainment.
  • "Everybody Sing" is a hodgepodge of a musical, comedy, and romance. The film itself is similar to the mess of the dysfunctional family that the movie takes place around. There's a lot of acting talent with prominent actors of the day in here. The very young (16) Judy Garland has second billing to actor-singer Allan Jones. She hadn't yet achieved top star status, but would the next year with two successive smash hit films - "The Wizard of Oz" and "Babes in Arms." Actually, right after this movie, Garland would make the first of several films with Mickey Rooney in the Andy Hardy series. That would cement her singing voice and roles for her career.

    This film is a very interesting look at Garland, whose voice was not yet quite settled, even though she had been performing in vaudeville with two older sisters. It also has some good singing and uplifting acting by Allan Jones and Fanny Brice. Brice made only seven movies, and this is a good film to see the comedic talent of the Ziegfeld Follies comedienne. Barbra Streisand, in "Funny Girl" of 1968 gave Brice's name recognition for a generation that hadn't known of the famous Broadway star. But this and the other half dozen films Brice was in shows that she didn't have a very dynamic singing voice. Her comedy made her acts. Streisand's 1968 role highlighted the comedy, but her very talented voice also gave the allusion that Brice might have been known and famous for her singing as well.

    Anyway, a host of other very good actors lend to the comedy and wonderful acting and mayhem in this film. None other than Billie Burke plays Garland's Judy Bellaire's mother, Diana Bellaire. Reginald Owen plays her dad, Hillary Bellaire. Reginald Gardiner plays an actor, Jerrold Hope, and Monty Woolley plays John Fleming. Other good roles are turned in by Lynne Carver as Sylvia Bellaire and Henry Armetta as Signor Vittorino

    The screenplay for this film seems a little slipshod, and the filming, editing and direction have some problems. But this film has as much historical value as anything, in the cast it has assembled for the times in the careers of various members. The last of the Ziegfeld Follies had been staged in 1936 and Fanny Brice was done on Broadway. But she would continue to star on the long-running "Baby Snooks" radio show until her death in 1951. Judy Garland was just on the road to stardom as a singer and actress, but her life would be one of problems with five marriages, drugs and alcohol until she would die of a barbiturate overdose at just 47 years of age in 1969.

    Billie Burke was at the height of her career and would go on to make many movies in splendid supporting roles as the giddy, forgetful, and very funny matron of the household. Allan Jones was just getting his start and would appear in several more musicals into the early 1940s when he became one of the first performers to volunteer to entertain the troops during WW II. After the war, he played the nightclub circuit for 20 years and then appeared in a couple of later musicals.

    Reginald Owen was continuing in his stride and had three decades remaining of very good movies, TV films and TV shows, many with his bombastic comedic persona. Reginald Gardiner too, had a flourishing career ahead with many good supporting roles. Monty Wooley would continue acting in some leads but mostly fine supporting roles for more than two decades. But two members of this fine cast would have their careers and lives end early due to health. But both performed right up until their end. Henry Armetta would die of a heart attack at age 57 in 1945; and Lynn Carver would die of cancer at age 38 in 1955.

    "Everybody Sing" isn't in the league of top musical revue films that Hollywood would make many of through the 1950s. But, it is a good film, with some good singing and routines, and some good humor along with looks at some wonderful performers of the past

    Here are some favorite lines from this film.

    Diana Bellaire, "Olga, this isn't what I want. I said strawberry jam." Olga Chekaloff, "You said blackberry but I gave you the raspberry." Diana Bellaire, "Olga, your cap is on crooked."

    Hillary Bellaire, "What a household. Servants butting in, telling you how things should be done." John Fleming, "Well, after all, they represent the masses. Do you know what I mean by the masses? People who are not actors. There are dozens of them and they come in very handy at the box office. Strangely enough, if they don't like a show, the show closes. Moliere, if you remember, used to ask the advice of his cook."

    John Fleming, "Olga..." Olga Chekaloff, "Yes, sir." John Fleming, "... what do you think of Mr. Bellaire's play?" Olga Chekaloff, "Well, it depends on how I feel. Sometimes I feel it ain't so bad, and sometimes I feel it ain't so good. But I don't like to say."

    Hillary Bellaire, "I'd like that speech better if I hadn't written it myself."

    Diana Bellaire, "Only a woman suffers as a woman can - quietly, deeply, bravely." Hillary Bellaire, "I wrote those lines too."
  • debo-mills21 February 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    I agree with most of the other comments: dull songs and a somewhat boring movie. I loved Fanny Brice as the Russian maid though: after watching her first scene I wondered "Who is that?" and looked it up. I had only heard of her through the movie "Funny Girl" (which I didn't like and couldn't sit through). The Baby Snooks number was awful, a total embarrassment: imagine a 46 year old woman dressed up like a toddler and speaking baby-talk! I'm surprised no one else has mentioned the jaw-dropping scene where Judy appears in black-face, her hair sticking up in cornrows all over her head, and sings a bouncy down-South number with all the usual racist stereotypical mannerisms of the time. Quite startling to see!
  • No, this isn't a good movie, despite a lot of talent in front of the camera. The script is uninteresting, and manages to turn some very likable actors, like Billie Burke and Reginald Owen, into unlikable characters. As others have remarked, there is no memorable music here, which is fatal for a musical.

    What I did get a kick out of, however, was a parody of the quartet from the last act of Verdi's Rigoletto. Four of the leads are on a bus, and Alan Jones, the tenor, starts off, in his best operatic style. As the others, especially Garland, enter in, however, they do jazz variations on the different parts. If you know the quartet, it's really very clever.

    What I found interesting about it is that it assumes that much of the audience would know the original piece. And, in 1938, they might well have, from the radio, where that sort of immediately likable classical music was common. Today a similar parody wouldn't work, because few would know the original.
  • "Everybody Sing" is a film that SHOULD have been better. Regardless, it did give young Judy Garland a chance to impress audiences with her singing...even if the film leaves a lot to be desired. What do I mean by this? Well, the film tries to be kooky- -with a kooky family much like the ones in "My Man Godfrey" or "You Can't Take it With You". However, it fails in this for several reasons. First, the writing isn't that good. There is a fine line between making people goofy and fun or making them annoying and shrill--the film definitely leans towards the latter. Second, the director really lost control of this film. If they had just slowed down the pace a bit, it really could have helped. Instead, folks too often shout their lines quickly...and it's very unnatural and fatiguing for the audience.

    So is there anything I liked about this one? Not especially, but as I mentioned, you hear Judy sing a few nice tunes--as one that will make you cringe! Seeing her sing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in black-face and pickininny braids is just embarrassing and sad. Just don't say I didn't warn you about that one!!

    By the way, the film has a pretty good cast and utterly wastes it. Sadly, one of the best supporting actors of his day, Monty Woolley is lost in the chaos! Fanny Brice, on the other hand, is coarse and awful...about par for the course for her.
  • I've never really gotten Judy Garland. Maybe because I wasn't raised with a TV and annual "Wizard of Oz" showing. (Yes, I do love "Meet Me In St. Louis.)

    Enough about me, though. The point is, I watched this only for the delightful Fannie Brice. She is funny and charming as the family maid, Olga. Maybe her personality is a little too large to work in a movie. The plot is overly familiar. Allan Jones is as annoying as always. Billie Burke and some of the players in smaller roles are fun but forgettable. But Her every line and facial gesture made me laugh. Would that she'd done more movies!
  • Not quite as good as some Judy movies. Judy is wonderful here as always which saves the film from me giving it a lower number. That and a funny, wacky baby snooks routine with Fanny Brice. If a scene like that came in a more modern movie, I'd have found it stupid and annoying. But cause its 30s movie style, and I like Fanny Brice, the scene was actually pretty quirky and amusing. Old movies just knew how to do silly wacky comedy better than films today. Look at Larual and Hardy. Judy's sister Sylvia is on a date at a dinner theater club when Judy shows up on stage. "Hey, it's Judy" Sylvia exclaims. Yes, it was Judy. Judy's name in this film was Judy. I liked that. And Judy as always sang beautifully. Her song "Down on melody farm" she sings at the dinner theater club is great. So is her song "Swing Mr. Meddleson, swing" she sings at the beginning of the film at school right before being thrown out. The song Judy and the stage girls sing in the show after the baby snooks number is also very nice. So is the finale song. And I also liked Sylvia. Now for the couple of problems of the film. First, I really don't like the blackface routine. Like in "babes on Broadway", the director made Judy do a blackface routine in this film. I enjoy many things about old movies but not blackface routines. She sings " swing low, sweet chariot" while in blackface. Also, I did not care for the two parent characters in this film, Reginald Over and Billy Burke. They just yelled and whined too much and were just too worked up, in every scene they were in. Billy Burke had such a sweet, likable role the following year in 'Wizard of oz" as Glenda the good witch. But in this film, she was far less likable. And at one point, Billy Burke called Judy, her daughter "my ugly duckling". Not right. Especially since Judy Garland has never been ugly, and was called " ugly duckling" by Louis B. Mayer in real life. That poor girl didn't have to hear it as part of the script in a film too. Reginald and Billy were both nice in only the very last minute of the film when they got on stage and hugged their family for a job well done.
  • That's a good screenplay. Judy Garland plays a girl named Judy (what a coincidence !) who has lots trouble in school but, with the help oh her maid and her cook, she will see her life change. I love Fanny Brice's performance. She's so funny! I love all the Judy's movie until now and I want to watch all of them !
  • That's right. This movie is for die-hard Judy Garland fans only. Still there is a fascination with it seeing Judy and Billy Burke.

    What's nice is seeing an age where there were no cell phones and everyone seems to have been polite. Of course, the very poor must have been hidden somewhere in this economic structure...

    This is a movie which has glimmers of Judy's later (or was it earlier?) successes.

    It is interesting to watch her career take off.

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