Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


A DATE WITH JUDY (1948). Director: Richard Thorpe.

Young Judy (Jane Powell) is dating Oogie (Scotty Becket) but falls for an older man (Robert Stack) when he’s inveigled into taking her to a high school dance. Unfortunately, Stack also meets a beauteous young Liz Taylor at the dance, and Liz sets her sights on the handsome soda jerk. An added complication occurs when Judy erroneously comes to the conclusion that her father, (a somewhat subdued Wallace Beery) is having an affair with dance teacher Carmen Miranda, who is only teaching him to rumba. You can call this dated, hokey, quaint and everything else, but it’s an undeniably charming picture with many amusing lines and sequences. Powell and Taylor are perhaps a bit too sophisticated to be typical high school girls, but Scotty Becket hits the right note, as does Selina Royal as Judy’s mother. Carmen Miranda is at her snappiest, and seeing her teamed with Beery is bizarre to say the least. Miranda’s song Canto le gusta certainly gets across that "let’s go off anywhere to do anything even if we’re broke" attitude of devil-may-care youth. Judaline is a strange number, although it sounds much better when it’s reprised. Corny Side is a pretty bad song, but it’s very well performed by Powell and Beckett. (The best number, of course, is It’s a Most Unusual Day.)
Verdict: This is easy to take and lots of fun if not exactly a great classic. ***.

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