Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...
After the whirlwind that was The Wizard of Oz, it may seem like a letdown for Judy to return to the Mickey & Judy musicals of before. However, she returned with two things she hadn’t had before: A-level star status, and the Freed Unit. The former made her a major box office draw, which meant that her movies had bigger budgets and better material. The latter meant that Arthur Freed - a writer turned producer who’d flitted in and out of Judy’s career since she started at MGM - could use those budgets and material to put on shows unlike any MGM had produced.
The Movie: Babes in Arms (MGM, 1939)
The Songwriters: Nacio Herb Brown (Music), Arthur Freed (Lyrics)
The Players: Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Charles Winninger, Guy Kibbee, directed by Busby Berkley
The Story: At its inception, The Freed Unit consisted of 8 men: Arthur Freed, director Busby Berkley, Roger Edens, dance director Chuck Walters, music director Georgie Stoll, art director Cedric Gibbons, writer Fred Finklehoffe, and cameraman Ray June. These eight (minus Finklehoffe) created the four biggest Rooney/Garland musicals by ingeniously recycling popular material (like the Rogers & Hart musical Babes in Arms) with new material (written or borrowed from elsewhere), lavish musical numbers, and a fairly conventional backstage musical plot. Berkley and June added a visual element that hadn’t been seen in teen musicals before. But despite this increased complexity, at their heart the movies still relied on the unbeatable chemistry of Mickey & Judy.
previously: "The Land of Let's Pretend" (1930), "The Texas Tornado" (1936), "Americana" (1936), "Dear Mr Gable" (1937), "Got a New Pair of Shoes" (1937), "Why? Because!" (1938), "Inbetween" (1938), “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” (1938), "Over the Rainbow" (1939)