Synopsis in German
Joe Moran (Charles Winninger), ein alternder Star des Vaudeville-Theaters, ist nicht bereit, sich der übermächtigen Konkurrenz des Kinos kampflos zu beugen. Zusammen mit einer Handvoll Kollegen bereitet er eine grosse „Tournee der Veteranen" vor, die beweisen soll, dass sie es mit den neuen Stars aus Hollywood durchaus aufnehmen können.
Joe Moran und seine Frau und langjährige Partnerin Florrie (Grace Hayes) haben in Sohn Mickey (Mickey Rooney) und Tochter Mollie (Betty Jaynes) zwei hochbegabte Kinder, die sich anschicken, in die Fusstapfen ihrer Eltern zu treten. Vor allem Mickey möchte gern an der Tournee teilnehmen, aber sein Vater meint, junge Leute seien dort fehl am Platz.
Leider droht die Tournee ein finanzielles Fiasko zu werden. Umso mehr bemühen sich Mickey und seine Freundin Patsy Barton (Judy Garland), eine eigene Show auf die Beine zu stellen, und obwohl die Widerstände gross sind, scheinen sie Erfolg zu haben... (ARD Presse)
Arthur Freed got his start writing and performing in New York vaudeville, before being signed to write songs for MGM's new musical department in 1929. His early efforts included writing lyrics for songs in The Hollywood Revue (1929), which introduced the songs "Singin' in the Rain" and "You Were Meant For Me." Both songs were co-written with Freed's frequent partner, Nacio Herb Brown. Freed's tunes were also heard in Bing Crosby's Going Hollywood (1933), The Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) and in Freed's first outing with Garland and Rooney for Thoroughbreds Don't Cry. However, Freed's career would soon encompass more than just songwriting.
In 1939, Arthur Freed was given a test assignment on a little project called The Wizard of Oz. Not only would Freed serve as associate producer for the film, he'd come to play an instrumental part in shaping and preserving an unforgettable piece of Americana - Garland's on-screen rendition of "Over the Rainbow." As the Hollywood legend has it, the producers of The Wizard of Oz and MGM head Louis B. Mayer wanted to cut "Over the Rainbow" from the movie, saying it slowed the story down. But Freed insisted the song stay in, remarking, "the song stays or I go." Freed, of course, got his way. And soon after, his own musical production department at MGM.
Based very loosely on a hit Rodgers and Hart play of the same title, Babes in Arms would be Freed's first project under the watch of his new unit. The movie retained only three of the show's original songs - the title song, "The Lady is a Tramp" and "When or Where." The movie's plot was also changed significantly from the stage version, to enhance Mickey Rooney's part, but still maintained the basic audience-pleasing formula of some talented kids putting on a show. Freed added some of his old tunes to the adaptation including "You are My Lucky Star" and "I Cried For You." He and Brown wrote "Good Morning" especially for the movie. And Oz songwriters E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen (who'd written "Over the Rainbow" as well as "If I Only Had a Brain" and "We're Off to See the Wizard") were called in to write "God's Country" for the big finale.
Freed and Garland had just completed The Wizard of Oz when filming began on Babes in Arms on May 12, 1939. In fact, Freed was still wrapped up in edits of The Wizard of Oz and his battle for Over the Rainbow all through the Babes in Arms shoot. July 18, 1939 turned into quite a big day for Freed. Primary production wrapped on Babes in Arms and the first preview of The Wizard of Oz was screened. "Over the Rainbow" was an instant success. But it hadn't all been smooth sailing on Babes in Arms. It seems Garland and director Berkeley didn't get along terribly well, and that the young star had trouble keeping up with co-star Rooney's energy. Some Garland bios claim she was already on diet pills at this time.
Still, Babes in Arms opened to enthusiastic reviews. It was a vindication for Berkeley who proved he could change with the times and create a hit even without his signature production numbers. Variety's review noted Berkeley's direction saying, "He blends drama, comedy and musical episodes into a fine composite of mass entertainment." Mickey Rooney was nominated for an Oscar for his part, which the actor later said "may have been the best picture I ever made." Judy Garland got her hands and footprints set in cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theater to mark the Babes in Arms premiere. And she was awarded a special Oscar that year "for her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile for the past year."
As for Freed, he became synonymous with MGM's integrated musical and would go on to produce such crowd pleasers as Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Singin' in the Rain (1952) and Gigi (1958). Babes in Arms would be a triumphant beginning for his new musical unit, costing around $600,000 to make and taking in over 2 million dollars domestically to become one of MGM's biggest grossers of 1939. And best of all, the movie led the way for many other Freed productions, that just like Babes in Arms would be what Variety called "topflight filmusical entertainment." (Stephanie Thames, Turner Classic Movies)
"Erstes Busby-Berkeley-Musical mit den Jungstars Rooney und Garland; energievoll, aber leicht veraltet." (Film im Fernsehen)
"Leicht angestaubtes" Musical über die zweite Generation des amerikanischen Vaudeville mit Zeitbezpgen zum Weltgeschehen der Vierziger Jahre, vor allem ein Starvehikel für Mickey Rooney und Judy Garland. Dank ein paar Showeinlagen nach wie vor sehenswert." (lhg 2006)
Remarks and general Information in German: «Busby Berkeley hat hier um die Jungstars Mickey Rooney und Judy Garland eine unterhaltsame musikalische Revue inszeniert, die den Künstlern des lange populären Vaudeville-Theaters im Konkurrenzmedium Film ihre Reverenz erweist.» (ARD Presse)
General InformationBabes in Arms is a motion picture produced in the year 1939 as a USA production. The Film was directed by Busby Berkeley, with Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, , June Preisser, Grace Hayes, in the leading parts.
References in Databases
IMDb - International Movie Data Base Nr. 31066
KinoTV Database Nr. 35935