Saturday, February 01, 2003


A generic title for a run-of-the-mill programmer featuring Judy Garland just before OZ. She plays Pinkie, a small town girl living with her widowed mom (Mary Astor) and her bratty little brother (Scotty Beckett). Freddie Bartholomew is Judy's buddy Buzz, a Canadian boy--which explains away his British accent--who is staying with his American uncle (Charley Grapewin, Uncle Henry from OZ). At heart, it's a Disneyish plot in which Judy and Freddie conspire to find an appropriate husband for Astor. She's on the verge of marrying Gene Lockhart, a small town big shot, but Judy knows she's only doing it for security. The kids kidnap Astor in the family trailer and, while staying at a campground, they meet up with Walter Pidgeon, a manly man very much like Astor's late husband. An odd plot twist involves Alan Hale as a rich man who lives on the edge of the campground and who the kids try to have ready if things with Pidgeon fall through. But after a skunk attack, a drenching storm, and a misunderstanding or two, things do work out fine. Judy sings a few songs, most notably "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart." Perennial sissy Barnett Parker (a second-string Franklin Pangborn) plays Hale's butler. Judy and Freddie have some chemistry but apparently not enough for MGM to pair them up again. Pidgeon is good, much more relaxed and softer-edged than he was in his 40's films. A pleasant time-passer, especially for Garland and Astor fans.

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