14 January 2005 | movibuf1962
A Friendly Star in Judy Garland.
Some moments of this otherwise B-level film are quite astonishing, like Gene Kelly's solo dance with the newspaper or the conversation between Gloria De Haven and Eddie Bracken which gently reveals their affection for each other. But the film, more or less, belongs to Judy Garland- she of the frequently strained health and nerves, who nevertheless made it all look very easy. That said, this is a good one, albeit a corny one. The hillbilly number done with Kelly, Phil Silvers, and the chorus is a bit much, but the film does show off Garland's talent for low-key, witty comedy. And "Get Happy" aside, the 'Portland Fancy' square dance which seamlessly turns into a swing duet with Garland and Kelly is probably the most enjoyable moment of the whole film. (Considering Garland's strength was singing, her dancing was quite impressive.) And my favorite Garland solo is the moonlit ballad "Friendly Star," done almost all in closeup, with the star's beautiful dark eyes on the brink of tears through the whole number. It's a pleasant swan song for her MGM era, but thankfully, her greatest musical (A Star Is Born) was still yet to come.