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Monday, 13 August 2012

Summer Stock (1950) - Star of the month... Gene Kelly


'Summer Stock' is a 1950 MGM musical comedy directed by Charles Walters, and starring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Phil Silvers, Eddie Bracken, Gloria de Haven, Marjorie Main and Carleton Carpenter.  

The film was produced by Joe Pasternak, and features choreography by Nicholas Castle Sr and Gene Kelly.


Jane Falbury (played by Garland) is a farm owner. Jane's sister Abigail (played by DeHaven) returns to the farm with a theatre company, directed by Joe Ross (played by Kelly). In need of a rehearsal venue, the troup takes over Judy's farm, until she gets a performing bug, much to the disgust of her fiancee Orville (played by Bracken).


"Get Happy"

Judy Garland sings 'Get Happy'
'Summer Stock' is best known for featuring one of Judy's most memorable musical numbers, 'Get Happy'.

If you look closely, you'll see Judy is a lot slimmer in this song, than in the rest of the film. This is because 'Get Happy' was filmed two months after the rest of the film, after Garland lost 20 pounds with the help of a hypnotist. 


'Get Happy' was the final musical number Judy would film at MGM.


The 'Get Happy' sequence has inspired a number of contemporary performers:



  • When Michael Jackson performed 'Dangerous' at the 1993 American Music Awards and 1995 MTV Video Music Awards, a dancer stood in front of Jackson until the beginning of the song (similar to 'Get Happy'), and Jackson performed excepts of the song
  • Duffy's video for 'Rain on Your Parade' was inspired by the 'Get Happy' sequence, with Duffy wearing a similar outfit with male dancers dressed in suits
  • Katie Holmes performed 'Get Happy' on the TV show 'So You Think You Can Dance' wearing a similar outfit


Musical program

  • "Main Titles" - MGM Orchestra
  • "If You Feel Like Singing Sing" - Judy Garland
  • "Howdy Neighbour (Happy Harvest)" - Judy Garland
  • "Dig-Dig-Dig Dig For Your Dinner" - Gene Kelly
  • "Mem'ry Island" - Gloria de Haven & Hans Conreid
  • "You, Wonderful, You" - Judy Garland & Gene Kelly
  • "Friendly Star" - Judy Garland
  • "You, Wonderful, You" (newspaper reprise) - danced by Gene Kelly
  • "Portland Fancy" - Judy Garland, Gene Kelly & theatre troup
  • "All For You" - Judy Garland & Gene Kelly
  • "You, Wonderful, You" (reprise) - Judy Garland & Gene Kelly
  • "Heavenly Music" - Gene Kelly & Phil Silvers
  • "Get Happy" - Judy Garland
  • "All For You" (Reprise) -Judy Garland & Gene Kelly
  • Gene Kelly dances with newspaper
  • "Happy Harvest" (Finale) - All cast



Other than the immortal 'Get Happy', the other primary musical highlight in this film is the clever dance sequence where Gene Kelly dances with a newspaper and creaky floorboards.







Song: "Get Happy" - Judy Garland




Clip: Gene Kelly dancing with newspaper




Song: "You, Wonderful, You" - Judy Garland & Gene Kelly



Song: "All For You" - Judy Garland & Gene Kelly





Song: "If You Feel Like Singing Sing" - Judy Garland




Song: "Howdy Neighbour (Happy Harvest)" - Judy Garland





Song: "Dig-Dig-Dig-Dig For Your Dinner" - Gene Kelly



Did you know...



  • This was Judy Garland's final MGM film - she would later be sacked halfway in September 1950 through her next film 'Annie Get Your Gun' (1950)
  • Judy Garland had originally worn her trademark top half of a texeduo for 'Mr Monotony' - a song cut from 'Easter Parade'
  • This was the last time Judy Garland and Gene Kelly worked together in a film
  • In the UK, the film was released under the title, 'If You Feel Like Singing'
  • June Allyson almost replaced Judy Garland after a suspension
  • Mickey Rooney was originally intended to play Joe Ross - he was replaced with Kelly, as Rooney was no longer considered to be box office
  • Busby Berkeley was originally meant to direct the film, but was replaced by Charles Walters just before filming began
  • Judy Garland was meant to appear in the 'Heavenly Music' number, however she did not show up for filming

Closing remarks

'Summer Stock' is an above average MGM musical. It is entertaining, although not one of Judy or Gene's greatest films. During the barnyard sleepover scene, I found it amusing seeing Marjorie Main sitting in between the boys and girls sides of the barn to ensure there was no hanky panky. Despite it's thin plot, 'Summer Stock' is an enjoyable MGM musical, and will leave you singing "Get Happy" long after the movie ends.

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