Babes in Arms (1939)

Unrated   |    |  Comedy, Musical


Babes in Arms (1939) Poster

A group of vaudevillians struggling to compete with talkies hits the road hoping for a comeback. Frustrated to be left behind, all of their kids put on a show themselves to raise money for the families and to prove they've got talent, too.

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6.5/10
2,084

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  • Mickey Rooney and June Preisser in Babes in Arms (1939)
  • Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in Babes in Arms (1939)
  • Judy Garland in Babes in Arms (1939)
  • Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in Babes in Arms (1939)
  • Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in Babes in Arms (1939)
  • Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in Babes in Arms (1939)

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User Reviews


22 August 2003 | movibuf1962
The beginning of the musical barnyard.
I just saw it on TCM, after finally acquiring cable. It's sweet. I imagine the original stage score was sharper and more adult, but you must know by now that Hollywood has been tampering with the scores of stage musicals since the year 1. When they filmed GAY DIVORCE they eliminated the entire score- save one little song danced by Fred Astaire. There's been stage-to-screen tampering done with SHOW BOAT, ON THE TOWN, BRIGADOON, SWEET CHARITY, and A CHORUS LINE, to name a few. And Rodgers & Hart were decidedly more sophisticated, adult composers; they had to endure the wrath of the puritanical Hollywood image back then. This is why I've always preferred musicals originally created for the screen; no one looking for a stage predecessor would be offended. As it is, they did keep "The Lady is A Tramp" in the background and allowed "Where or When" to be performed as a slightly botched band rehearsal. But I love the staging of the title song: a march through the street, gathering more and more teens as they go, with its bonfire-rally finale; and Judy Garland's torch solo "I Cried For You" is a stunning piece of poignancy which makes you forget that she is only 17 years old. She does a magnificent job of grounding the overly ecstatic Mickey Rooney. As for dated film accusations- yes, it is dated; America just entered World War II at this movie's release, and it's probably no coincidence that the film's finale "God's Country" is an especially long, uplifting musical sequence. I mean, how ageless can it be with Mickey Rooney doing an impersonation of President Roosevelt?!

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