5 December 2002 | sdiner82
Charming, seemingly "lost" souvenir of a bygone era.
Back in the '50s, before the major studios released their old movies to TV, several so-called "poverty row" companies (Republic, Monogram, PRC, etc.) filled the void with the television equivalent of "garage sales" of their low-budget 'B' products. Because of the paucity of old movies on TV in that era, a number of these films were shown over and over again--and proved, to viewers' delight, that an economy budget didn't necessarily spell mediocrity. Case in point: Eagle-Lion's sprightly "Mickey," a thoroughly disarming tale of a feisty teenaged tomboy coming of age in small-town America. A charming young actress with a lilting soprano voice, Lois Butler played the title role, supported by such pros as Bill Goodwin as her understanding widowed Dad, and the always-lovely Irene Hervey as their next-door neighbor. The likeable Skip Homeier supplied additional charm as Mickey's highschool crush, and the magnificent Hattie McDaniel added her customary zing as--what else?--the wisecracking housekeeper. Released the same year as MGM's glossy, big-budget, all-star "A Date with Judy" (1948), "Mickey" was no match for that MGM blockbuster but exudes its own unpretentious charm. A dated artifact of its era, to be sure, but nevertheless a breezy, endearing portrayal of the trials and tribulations of small-town teenagers way back when. Films like "Mickey" shouldn't be ridiculed and forgotten but cherished and enjoyed for their candy-coated portrayal of a bygone era. A la Jane Powell, Ms. Butler even gets to sing a few tunes (most memorably "Someday My Prince Will Come") and the pleasing production is further enhanced by the pasteled Cinecolor cinematography. A modest, beguiling treat--long overdue for a re-discovery and restoration (are you listening, TCM?)