Babes in Arms, Strike Up the Band, Babes on Broadway and Girl Crazy
Warner Home Video
Most of the Golden Age stars have died, but the two biggest moneymakers of the 30s are still with us: Shirley Temple and Mickey Rooney. Fox has regularly been reissuing the Temple movies, and now here are four musicals Rooney made for MGM producer Arthur Freed, who latched the Mick's brash energy to Garland's little-girl sweetness and uniquely mature voice. In transferring Babes in Arms from Broadway to Hollywood, Freed eliminated several Rodgers and Hart classics ("I Wish I Were in Love Again," "My Funny Valentine," "Johnny One-Note") to make room for some songs he had written in his lyricist days; and for Strike Up the Band he jettisoned the Gershwin standards "Soon" and "I've Got a Crush on You." But what's left in this four-pack, with new introductions by Rooney, is still choice. Girl Crazy, the best of the bunch, has spiffy settings for George and Ira's "Bidin' My Time," "Embraceable You," "I Got Rhythm" and "But Not for Me." Fabulous bonus: "The Judy Garland Songbook," amassing 21 of her movie songs. Mixed blessing: Rooney impersonating Carmen Miranda in Babes on Broadway.