Strike Up the Band (film)

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Strike Up the Band
Strike-Up-the-Band-1940.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Busby Berkeley
Produced by Arthur Freed
Written by John Monks Jr.
Fred F. Finklehoffe
Starring Judy Garland
Mickey Rooney
Music by Leo Arnaud
George Stoll
Cinematography Ray June
Edited by Ben Lewis
Production
company
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates September 27, 1940 (1940-09-27)
Running time 120 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $854,000[1]
Box office $3,494,000[1]

Strike Up the Band is a 1940 American black and white musical film. It is directed by Busby Berkeley and stars Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.

A very famous, memorable quote from the film is "Take that boy on the street. Teach him to blow a horn, and he'll never blow a safe.", spoken by Paul Whiteman.

As well as being commercially released as a VHS in its own right, it was also released on 25 September 2007 by Warner Home Video in a film package entitled: "The Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection." This collection included the films Babes in Arms, Babes on Broadway, Girl Crazy, and Strike Up the Band.[2]

The original taglines for the film were: "THEIR SUNNIEST, FUNNIEST, DOWN-TO-MIRTHIEST HIT!; IT BEATS THE BAND!; "Melodious with WHITEMAN'S BAND; and The merriest pair on the screen in a great new musical show!

In keeping with MGM's practice of the time, the film soundtrack was recorded in stereophonic sound but released with conventional monaural sound. At least some of the original stereo recording has survived and been included in some home video releases, including the Mickey Rooney - Judy Garland Collection.[3]

Plot summary[edit]

Jimmy Connors, a student at Riverwood High School, also plays the drums in the school band, but dreams of playing in a dance band. He and his "pal" Mary Holden sell the school principal the idea of forming the band and putting on a dance. The principal is initially doubtful, but then agrees to buy the first ticket. The event is a success and the school's debt for the instruments in paid off.

Famous band leader Paul Whiteman (played by himself) sponsors a contest in Chicago for the best high school musical group, and Jimmy decides the band must compete. In three weeks, the kids write, plan, and put on a show (without apparently affecting their schoolwork). The melodrama, called 'Nell from New Rochelle,' is also a success and raises the money to go to Chicago, but they're still short. A loan from Paul Whiteman himself deals with that obstacle. But when Willie, a member of the cast, is injured and needs a critical and urgent operation, the band gives the money up so Willie can be flown to Chicago for the operation.

The band raises the money anyway, competes in Chicago, and wins the $500 prize. To Jimmy goes the honor of leading all the bands in a grand finale performance.

Cast[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

  • "Strike up the Band"
(1927)
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Played during the opening credits
Sung by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, and chorus in the finale
  • "Our Love Affair"
(1939)
Music by Roger Edens
Lyrics Arthur Freed
Played during the opening and end credits
Played on piano by Mickey Rooney and sung by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney with orchestral accompaniment
Reprised by the animated fruit orchestra
Reprised by the band at rehearsal and at the dance
Reprised by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in the finale
Played as background music often
  • "Do the La Conga"
(1939)
Music and Lyrics by Roger Edens
Performed by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Sidney Miller,
William Tracy and chorus at the dance
Reprised by the cast in the finale
  • "Nobody"
(1939)
Music and Lyrics by Roger Edens
Sung by Judy Garland
  • "Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?"
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played as background music at the start of the fair sequence
  • "The Gay Nineties"
Music and Lyrics by Roger Edens
Performed by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, William Tracy,
Margaret Early and chorus at the Elks Club show
  • "Nell of New Rochelle"
(1939)
Music and Lyrics by Roger Edens
Performed by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and chorus in the Elks club show
  • "Sidewalks of New York"
(1894) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Lawlor
A few notes played at the start of the 'Nell of New Rochelle' sequence
  • "Walking Down Broadway"
(uncredited)
Traditional
Music Arranged by Roger Edens
Sung by the chorus in the 'Nell of New Rochelle' sequence
  • "A Man Was the Cause of It All"
(1939)
Music and Lyrics by Roger Edens
Sung by Judy Garland in the 'Nell of New Rochelle' sequence
  • "After the Ball"
(1892) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Harris
Played as dance music in the 'Nell of New Rochelle' sequence
  • "Sobre las olas (Over the Waves)"
(1887) (uncredited)
Music by Juventino Rosas
Played as background music in the 'Nell of New Rochelle' sequence
  • "Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl"
(1909) (uncredited)
Music by A. Baldwin Sloane
Lyrics by Edgar Smith
Sung by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and chorus in the 'Nell of New Rochelle' sequence
(1823) (uncredited)
Music by H.R. Bishop
Played as background music when Nell rocks the cradle
  • "Ta-ra-ra Boom-der-é"
(1891) (uncredited)
Written by Henry J. Sayers
Danced to and sung by June Preisser and sung by the chorus in the 'Nell of New Rochelle' sequence
Reprised in the finale of the 'Nell of New Rochelle' sequence
  • "Come Home, Father"
(1864) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Henry Clay Work (1864)
Sung by Larry Nunn and Judy Garland in the 'Nell of New Rochelle' sequence
  • "The Light Cavalry Overture"
(uncredited)
Music by Franz von Suppé
Played in the 'Nell of New Rochelle' sequence several times
  • "Rock-a-Bye Baby"
(1886) (uncredited)
Music by Effie I. Canning
Played as background music when Willie is told to go home
  • "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue (Has Anybody Seen My Girl)?"
(uncredited)
Music by Ray Henderson
Played as background music when Jimmy and Barbara wait for her parents
  • "When Day is Done"
(uncredited)
Music by Robert Katscher
Opening number played by Paul Whiteman and Orchestra at Barbara's party
  • "Wonderful One"
(uncredited)
Music by Paul Whiteman and Ferde Grofé Sr.
Played as dance music by Paul Whiteman and Orchestra at Barbara's party
  • "Drummer Boy"
(1939)
Music by Roger Edens
Lyrics by Roger Edens and Arthur Freed
Performed at Barbara's party by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney (on drums and vibraphone) and other band members
Reprised by the cast in the finale
  • "China Boy"
(uncredited)
Written by Dick Winfree and Phil Boutelje
Played as background music during the travel and contest montage
  • "Hands Across the Table"
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Jean Delettre
Played as background music during the travel and contest montage
(1922) (uncredited)
Music by Philip Braham
Played as background music during the travel and contest montage
(1918) (uncredited)
Written by Edwin B. Edwards, Nick LaRocca, Tony Sbarbaro, Henry Ragas and Larry Shields
Played as background music during the travel and contest montage
(1843) (uncredited)
Music Arranged by Thomas A. Beckett
Played as background music when the flag is raised at the end

Awards[edit]

In 1941, the year after the film was released, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards.[4] Douglas Shearer (M-G-M SSD) won an Oscar for Best Sound, Recording and Roger Edens and George Stoll were nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Music, Original Song for the song "Our Love Affair". George Stoll and Roger Edens were also nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Music, Score.

Box Office[edit]

According to MGM records the film earned $2,265,000 in the US and Canada and $1,229,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $1,539,000.[1]

Film Connections[edit]

The film is referenced in:

  • The Big Store (1941) - Seen on Marquee opposite store, without the names of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and
  • "The Odd Couple: Strike Up the Band or Else (#5.6)" (1974) - Movie title used in title
  • "Alice: Alice Strikes Up the Band (#5.18)" (1981) - title reference
  • Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001) (TV)

The film is featured in:

The film is spoofed in

Critical response[edit]

Paul Mavis, DVDTalk:[5]

"This is American salesmanship at its most uplifting and technically proficient; no wonder there were widespread reports of cheering in movie theatres during this finale."

Daily Variety:

"While all the young principals do themselves proud, Garland particularly achieves rank as one of the screen's great personalities. Here she is for the first time in the full bloom and charm which is beyond childhood, as versatile in acting as she is excellent in song - a striking figure and a most oomphy one in the wild abandon of the La Conga."

Movie and Radio Guide, 1940:

"The La Conga danced by Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in Strike Up the Band is nothing less than sensational. For that reason, Movie and Radio Guide hereby christens the number 'The Roogaronga.' This title is a combination of the first three letters of Mickey's and Judy's last names, to which has been added the identifying dance classification."

Variety, September 18, 1940:

"Strike Up the Band is Metro's successor to 'Babes in Arms,' with Mickey Rooney, assisted by major trouping on the part of Judy Garland ... Picture is overall smacko entertainment ... and Mickey Rooney teamed with Judy Garland is a wealth of effective entertainment."

International versions[edit]

The film is known by a variety of different names all around the world, including Armonías de juventud in Spain, En avant la musique in Belgium (dubbed version) (French title), Heiße Rhythmen in Chicago in Germany, Me jazzikuninkaat in Finland, Musica indiavolata in Italy, Vi jazzkonger in Denmark and Vi jazzkungar in Sweden.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ IMDb.com
  3. ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000RT99FG
  4. ^ "The 13th Academy Awards (1941) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-12. 
  5. ^ DVDtalk.com

External links[edit]