Summer Stock

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For the article about the theatre genre, see Summer stock theatre.

Summer Stock
Summerstock.jpg
Directed by Charles Walters
Produced by Joe Pasternak
Written by Sy Gromberg
(story and screenplay)
George Wells (screenplay)
Starring Judy Garland
Gene Kelly
Music by Score:
Conrad Salinger (uncredited)
Songs-Music:
Harry Warren
Harold Arlen
Songs-Lyrics:
Mack Gordon
Jack Brooks
Saul Chaplin
Ted Koehler
Cinematography Robert Planck
Editing by Albert Akst
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • August 31, 1950 (1950-08-31) (U.S.)
Running time 109 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,025,000[1]
Box office $3,357,000[1]

Summer Stock, known as If You Feel Like Singing in the UK, is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical made in 1950. The film was directed by Charles Walters and stars Judy Garland and Gene Kelly and features Eddie Bracken, Gloria DeHaven, Marjorie Main, and Phil Silvers. Nicholas Castle Sr was the choreographer.

Judy Garland struggled with many personal problems during filming, and Summer Stock proved to be her last MGM movie and also her last pairing with Gene Kelly onscreen. MGM terminated Garland's contract - by mutual agreement - in September 1950.[2]

Plot[edit]

Jane Falbury (Judy Garland) is a farm owner whose actress sister Abigail (Gloria DeHaven) arrives at the family farm with her theater troupe. They need a place to rehearse, and Jane and her housekeeper Esme (Marjorie Main) reluctantly agree to let them use their barn. The actors and actresses, including the director Joe Ross (Gene Kelly), repay her hospitality by doing chores around the farm. Although Joe is engaged to Abigail, he begins to fall in love with Jane after Abigail leaves him in an angry fit. Similarly, although Jane is engaged to Orville (Eddie Bracken), she falls in love with Joe.

Highlights[edit]

The film's most famous scene is the final song-and-dance number "Get Happy" performed by Judy Garland in a tuxedo jacket, black fedora, and black nylons to an arrangement by Skip Martin. This sequence was choreographed by Charles Walters and filmed two months after the rest of the movie, after Garland sought the help of a hypnotist in Santa Barbara and lost 20 pounds. Garland performed the number perfectly in just a couple of takes, and the rest is history. According to New York Times critic Bosley Crowther: " 'Get Happy' finds Miss Garland looking and performing her best."[3][4][5]

In another notable sequence, Kelly performs a solo dance in a darkened barn, using a newspaper and a creaky board as partners and props; the musical accompaniment reprises "You Wonderful You". The dance "turned out to be one of the breakthrough numbers" of his career.[6]

In the film, Garland and Kelly share what may be Garland's best dance duet on screen, the swinging "Portland Fancy" where a square dance turns into a heated challenge dance for the two stars.

Cast[edit]

Songs[edit]

All songs were written by Harry Warren (music) and Mack Gordon (lyrics) except where noted. Orchestration chores were divided between Conrad Salinger and Skip Martin.

  1. "If You Feel Like Singing, Sing" – Judy Garland
  2. "(Howdy Neighbor) Happy Harvest" – Gene Kelly, Garland, Phil Silvers and company stock members
  3. "Dig-Dig-Dig Dig For Your Dinner" – Kelly
  4. "Mem'ry Island" – Gloria DeHaven and Hans Conried (dubbed by Pete Roberts)
  5. "Portland Fancy" – (traditional New England contra dance tune) stock company members, Kelly and Garland
  6. "You, Wonderful You" (Jack Brooks and Saul Chaplin, lyrics and Warren, music) – Kelly and Garland
  7. "Friendly Star" – Garland
  8. "You, Wonderful You" – Kelly
  9. "All for You" (Chaplin) – Kelly and Garland
  10. "You, Wonderful You" (Reprise) – Kelly and Garland
  11. "Heavenly Music" (Chaplin) – Kelly, Silvers and dogs
  12. "Get Happy" (Harold Arlen (music) and Ted Koehler (lyrics)) – Garland and chorus
  13. "(Howdy Neighbor) Happy Harvest" (finale) – Kelly, Garland, Silvers and company stock members
Source[7]

Production[edit]

Although Garland and Kelly were the stars originally announced by MGM in 1948 to appear in Summer Stock, in February 1949 the studio announced that Garland would be replaced by June Allyson. Garland was suspended in May 1949, during the filming of Annie Get Your Gun, and spent three months in a hospital in Boston being treated for drug dependency. Betty Hutton replaced her on that film, but Garland was reinstated to the lead in Summer Stock, which was her first film following the suspension.[8] Still, the filming of the movie was sometimes a struggle for Garland, who was facing many pressures in her personal life, aside from her heavy reliance on prescription medication.[9][10]

Kelly himself was not the first choice for the role: the producer, Joe Pasternak, originally wanted Mickey Rooney for the part, but was prevailed on to go with Kelly because Rooney was no longer the box office draw he had once been. Busby Berkeley was originally slated to direct the film, but was replaced by Charles Walters before production began. Both Kelly and Walters worked on the film as a favor to Garland, whose career needed a boost at the time. Later, after filming had begun, Pasternak asked Mayer if he should abandon the film because of Garland's erratic behavior – for example, she was supposed to appear in the "Heavenly Music" number to sing and dance with Kelly and Phil Silvers, but never showed up for the shoot – but studio head Louis B. Mayer insisted that Garland be given another chance,[8] saying "Judy Garland has made this studio a fortune in the good days, and the least we can do is to give her one more chance. If you stop production now, it'll finish her."[10]

Dance director Nick Castle did not choreograph "You Wonderful You," "All for You" and "Portland Fancy" – these were done by Gene Kelly – but did do "Dig-Dig-Dig Dig for Your Dinner" and other numbers. He also did not shoot "Get Happy," which was filmed three months after the rest of the film; instead it was shot by director Walters. In the interval, Garland had been treated by a hypnotist for weight loss and took off 15-20 pounds; she appears considerably thinner in the number.[3][8][9][10]

Garland finished filming the movie and embarked on a long promised vacation from the studio. Soon, however, she was called back to star with Fred Astaire in the film Royal Wedding, replacing June Allyson, who was pregnant. Once again, Garland struggled to perform in the face of exhaustion and overwork. She was fired from the film, and her contract with MGM was terminated through mutual agreement.[8][11][12]

Overall, Summer Stock took six months to film, and was a box-office success.

Reception[edit]

According to MGM's records, during the film's initial release it earned $2,498,000 in the US and Canada and $859,000 overseas, resulting in a small $80,000 loss to the studio.[1]

In popular culture[edit]

The film, specifically the "Get Happy" sequence, has been referenced in many pop culture contexts. Michael Jackson performed "Dangerous" in a way that paid tribute to the movie, most notably at the 1993 American Music Awards and the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. Jackson and his dancers wore suits, and a dancer stood in front of Jackson until the beginning of the song, just like in the movie, in which Judy is covered by a dancer at first. Some excerpts from the song can be heard in Jackson's performance.

British singer Duffy's "Rain on Your Parade" music video was also inspired by that sequence, and Duffy can be seen wearing an outfit similar to Garland's, and dancing against a white background along some male dancers dressed in suits.

Actress Katie Holmes paid homage to Judy Garland, performing "Get Happy" on the television show So You Think You Can Dance. She wore a similar outfit and danced alongside male dancers in suits in front of a match-painted background.

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Frank, p. 285
  3. ^ a b Wayne, p. 211
  4. ^ Crowther, Bosley."Metro Musical, Summer Stock, With Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, Opens at Capitol,"The New York Times, September 1, 1950
  5. ^ Hemming, Roy. The melody lingers on (1999), Newmarket Press, ISBN 1-55704-380-9, pp. 19-20
  6. ^ Yudkoff, Alvin. Gene Kelly (2001), Watson-Guptill, ISBN 0-8230-8819-7, p. 207
  7. ^ Summer Stock' soundtrack listing imdb.com, accessed July 22, 2009
  8. ^ a b c d "Notes" on TCM.com
  9. ^ a b Green, p. 161
  10. ^ a b c Soares, Emily. Summer Stock (article) TCM.com, accessed July 23, 2009
  11. ^ Green, p. 162
  12. ^ Frank, p. 280

Bibliography

  • Frank, Gerold. Judy (1999), Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-80894-3
  • Green, Stanley and Schmidt, Elaine. Hollywood musicals year by year (1999), Hal Leonard Corporation, ISBN 0-634-00765-3
  • Wayne, Jane Ellen. The Golden Girls of MGM, (2003), Carroll & Graf Publishers, ISBN 0-7867-1303-8

External links[edit]