"In 1916, song-and-dance man Harry Palmer meets Jo Hayden and Jimmy K. Metcalfe, partners in a vaudeville act playing at the same small-town theater. Jimmy and Harry, who both have ambitions to make it on "the big time" circuit, quickly become rivals. One night, Harry invites Jo for coffee, plotting to get her to leave Jimmy and become his new partner. After they playfully perform a new arrangement of "For Me and My Gal," Jo, too, feels that she and Harry are great together, but does not want to hurt Jimmy. Realizing how loyal Jo is, Harry is remorseful and confesses his scheme to her. When Jo returns to her hotel, Jimmy, who is secretly in love with Jo, asks if Harry has suggested that she be his new partner. Jimmy then says that he has been planning to break up their act and insists to the suspicious Jo that he is not just making a noble sacrifice. As America prepares for war, Harry and Jo go on the road together, playing at small-time vaudeville houses. One day, while on a train to Chicago, Jo reads that Harry and his partner, comic Sid Simms, are now playing on the prestigious Orpheum circuit. Harry is embittered that he and Jo have not been so successful, and when he accidentally wanders into the private car of vaudeville headliner Eve Minard, he is dazzled. In Chicago, while Harry spends time with Eve, Jo is visited by Jimmy, who sympathizes with the unrequited love she feels for Harry. That night, Jo goes to Eve's hotel suite and tells her that she loves Harry. Eve gently tells Jo that Harry is an opportunist and not worthy of her, then, to prove her point, asks Jo to hide when Harry arrives. Eve makes Harry an offer to join her act, and when Harry realizes that Jo will not be part of the deal, he only hesitates for a moment. Back at their hotel, Harry tries to break the news to Jo, unaware that she already knows, and she pretends that she wants to go back with Jimmy. When she starts to cry, though, he realizes that he is in love with her and decides to turn Eve down. As they are about to leave for their next job, they get a telegram from their agent, Eddie Milton, saying that they are booked for the Palace in New York, and Harry proposes that they marry after their first matinee. In New York, when they discover that the telegram was suppposed to read "the Palace in Newark," they are shattered, especially as Jimmy and Sid actually are opening at the Palace, New York. Harry still wants to get married that day, but Jo insists on waiting until they really play the Palace. A short time later, Bert Waring, manager of the Palace, sees their act in Newark and offers them a booking. They are ecstatic until Harry receives a draft notice. Despite Jo's feelings that he, like her kid brother Danny, must do his duty, Harry bitterly determines that he will not lose his big chance. A few weeks later, after receiving several postponements, Harry must report for his physical the day before they open at the Palace and, in desperation, slams the lid of a heavy trunk down on his hand. The next day, after he receives a six-week deferment, he returns to his hotel to find Jimmy there, in uniform. When Jo receives a telegram informing her that Danny has been killed in action, Harry tries to comfort her, but when she sees his hand, she realizes what he has done and says that she never wants to see him again. After six weeks, Harry learns that his hand is permanently crippled and he will never be admitted to the Army. He then tries to enlist in other branches of the service, but is turned down. Some time later, Harry goes to a bond rally and runs into Sid, who suggests that Harry go with him to France as a YMCA entertainer. In Paris, Jo, who is entertaining troops, sees Jimmy and arranges to meet him after her show. Jimmy then runs into Harry, who has joined Sid. Harry admits his bitterness over not being in a real uniform, but Jimmy makes him realize that he is not such a bad person after all. Knowing that Jo is about to arrive, Jimmy leaves. Although Jo is happy to see Harry, he quickly leaves after asking for her forgiveness. One rainy night, Harry and Sid arrive in a small French town, where a desperate army doctor asks Harry to contact a convoy of ambulances that is unwittingly heading toward heavy German fire. Because Harry cannot get through on the field telephone, he jumps into his car and rides ahead. When the car breaks down, he walks on to meet the convoy and, though wounded, Harry throws a grenade to destroy the machine gun that is firing on the ambulances. At the end of the war, Jo is appearing at the Palace theater in Paris. When she sees Jimmy, Sid and Harry in the audience, she runs down to embrace Harry, and Jimmy and Sid push them onstage to do their big number, "For Me and My Gal." (TCM)
"Wer optische Phantasie oder zündende Choreographie von diesem Busby-Berkely-Film erwartet, bleibt enttäuscht - es ist nicht mehr als ein recht banal inszeniertes Vehikel für Judy Garland mit einem relativ farblosen Gene Kelly und einigen mageren Showeinlagen. Heute wohl nur noch von dokumentarischen Werk zur Karriere Judy Garlands." (lhg 2006)
"(...) zwar führte Busby Berkely bei diesem Film die Regie, doch das Ergebnis ist reichlich nichtssagend. Einige zündende Ideen hättn dem Streifen sicherlich gutgetan (...)" (James Juneau, Judy Garland, Heyne Filbibliothek)
"Kelly and Garland (who received top billing) worked brilliantly together, establishing a magical rapport, and their performance of the title number. . .was the undoubted highlight of the movie." (Clive Hirschhorn, The Hollywood Musical)
"A touch of imagination and a deal more than a touch of energy." (The Times)
"The story is naively patriotic and sentimental, but Kelly is amazingly fresh; his grin could melt stone, and he and Garland are a magical pair. . ." (Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights At The Movies)
Anmerkungen : Nachdem Marta Eggerth und Jan Kiepura 1939 nach Kriegsbeginn von Paris aus Europa verliessen, dauerte es drei Jahre, bis Eggerth wieder in einem Film zu sehen war. Ihr Hollywood-Debut absolvierte sie in einer Rolle neben Judy Garland, dem Jungstar des amerikanischen Kinos der 40er Jahre, in einem Film über das Vaudville-Leben vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg. In diesem spritzigen Musical des legendären Busby Berkeley debütierte auch der amerikanische Sänger und Tänzer Gene Kelly. (filmarchiv austria)
"For Me and My Gal (1942) is very much the "forgotten" Judy Garland classic. Although a big hit in 1942 (bringing in $4.8 million on an investment of just over $800,000), it is not as often revived as films like The Wizard of Oz (1939), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) or even her two other pictures with Gene Kelly, The Pirate (1948) and Summer Stock (1950). Nor is it currently available on DVD. Yet it plays an important part in her career, marking the first time she would receive billing above the title and her most ambitious dramatic role to that time. It also gave her two numbers that would become staples of her later concert appearances, the title song (usually done in concerts as a sing-along) and "After You've Gone." As icing on the cake, it marked Gene Kelly's film debut. His role as a heel who's reformed by his love for the leading lady would become a standby for the dancing star.
Like most of MGM's best musicals, For Me and My Gal was a product of Arthur Freed's production unit. Often hailed as the man who brought taste and sophistication to the film musical, Freed benefited from a strong eye for talent and stories and his openness to the advice of others. In this case, that openness would pay off big time. The original script, called "The Big Time," had unscrupulous song-and-dance man Harry Palmer involved with two women, a singer (the role intended for Garland) and a dancer, with the latter carrying most of the dramatic scenes as the woman he marries and betrays. At the time, legendary stage star and acting teacher Stella Adler was working at MGM as a production assistant, and Freed asked her to review the script. She suggested combining the two female roles and giving Garland, whose work she had admired for years, a chance at her most dramatic role ever. She also suggested that he cast the as-yet-unproven Gene Kelly as the leading man. Freed ended up going with both ideas, which meant moving contract hoofer George Murphy, originally scheduled for the lead, into a smaller role as the vaudeville star who loses Garland to Kelly.
Freed had actually been interested in Kelly since he'd seen him in William Saroyan's Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Time of Your Life in 1939. At the time, however, Kelly wanted to establish himself with stage work. A year later, Kelly was the acclaimed star of the musical Pal Joey and had just choreographed Best Foot Forward, and MGM came calling again. This time Louis B. Mayer offered him a contract after seeing Pal Joey and telling him he didn't need to do a screen test. Then through a communications snafu, Kelly was told he would have to test, so he declined to sign the contract. Instead, he signed with independent producer David O. Selznick. With his limited production slate, however, Selznick had no projects in line for Kelly, who spent his first year in Hollywood doing nothing. When Freed pushed MGM to cast Kelly in For Me and My Gal, over the objections of studio brass who didn't want to take a chance on an unproven film star, Selznick simply handed over his contract to the studio.
Garland had also pushed for Kelly in the lead, and when he started on the film, she went to bat for him whenever he had a disagreement with director Busby Berkeley, whom she loathed. She also helped him adjust to acting for the camera. For her part, the role offered her a welcome chance to grow up. Her only prior shot at an adult role had been a few scenes as a woman who dies in childbirth in Little Nellie Kelly (1940). For the rest of the film, she had played the woman's teenaged daughter. Now she would spend an entire film as an adult, something she was already doing off-screen, where she had recently married composer David Rose. Garland also loved the film's patriotic elements. She had been touring military bases and raising funds for the Allies even before the Pearl Harbor attack that pulled the U.S. into World War II. Now she got to entertain the troops on screen in a series of classic pop numbers including "When You Wore a Tulip" and "Pack Up Your Trouble."
The biggest problem with the film, however, was the characterization of the leading man, who not only betrays his wife, but injures his hand to avoid service in World War I. Even before the U.S. entered the war, using a draft dodger as a romantic lead was questionable. After the start of the war effort, it seemed almost deluded. During production, Berkeley added a scene in which Garland sends her brother (future director Richard Quine) off to war to the tune of "Till We Meet Again," but that only underlined Harry's cowardice. When the film previewed, audiences overwhelmingly expressed their disapproval of Kelly's character, saying that Garland should have ended up with Murphy at the film's conclusion. Mayer blamed Murphy for being too likable and even told him, "You spoiled the picture." He ordered three weeks of re-takes that would give Kelly more of a conscience and cut down on Murphy's presence. He even had the finale re-shot, without Murphy (the original footage is lost, though the soundtrack is available on CD). As disappointed as Murphy was, For Me and My Gal became a hit, clearly establishing Kelly as a film star and paving the way for more ambitious roles for Garland." (Frank Miller, Turner Classic Movies)
General InformationFor me and my gal is a motion picture produced in the year 1942 as a USA production. The Film was directed by Busby Berkeley, with Keenan Wynn, Mártha Eggerth, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Stephen McNally, in the leading parts.
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