STUNNING! This HARVEY GIRLS DVD is "Metro-GARLAND-Magic"
mikeyjs | 05/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hats off to Ted Turner's crew and their partners at Warner Home Video for a simply stunning DVD presentation of THE HARVEY GIRLS. The film looks sumptuous. A thrilling example of Technicolor at its most splendid. Although THE HARVEY GIRLS is a thoroughly delightful entertainment, there isn't much substance to the plot. It seems to hardly matter, as the film's major virtues are its great score by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren, superb performances from a great cast, and of course, the peerless Judy Garland.If anyone else had played the lead in this picture, it would have been long forgotten. This is Judy's show, all the way, and everything about it is designed to show off her immense talents.
She is at the top of her form here...looking lovely, singing gorgeously, dancing with aplomb, and handling both dramatic and comedic scenes better than anyone else could ever dream to. The biggest highlight of the film is the mammoth eight-minute production number ON THE ATCHISON, TOPEKA, AND THE SANTA FE which ended up winning a Best Song Oscar. This sequence alone is worth the price of the DVD, and the Warner Home Video people give us an extra bonus by presenting the number separately in TRUE STEREO! Astounding!The supplementary materials are vast and beautifully assembled. The commentary by recently-deceased director George Sidney was fortunately captured for this release, and his thoughts and reminiscences are entertaining and charming. There were four musical numbers intended for this picture which were cut before release. MARCH OF THE DOAGIES and its reprise and MY INTUITION are the three that were filmed, and they are included on this DVD, looking like they were filmed yesterday (actually they look TOO good to have been filmed in this day and age). The one unused song that was recorded but not filmed called HAYRIDE is among the more than 20 pre-recording sessions included on the DVD's "Sing Song Express". A captivating opportunity to be present on the Metro recording stages as they laid down these historic tracks. You can hear the starts and stops, the banter and laughter...It's almost like being there. The disc also includes a trailer.Hats off to Warner and Turner for a splendid job well done, a VAST improvement from the once-impressive laserdisc release, which is now unwatchable in comparison to this DVD. Add to this the VERY reasonable price of this movie, and it can't be beat. Now the big question: "When will Warner give us MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, EASTER PARADE and the rest of the golden Garland catalog?" Let's hope it's soon. If this DVD is any indication of what those will be like, we are in for a treat."
Judy at her comedic best!
Tim Sullivan | Massachusetts, USA | 06/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Harvey Girls" is my favorite of the MGM musicals. It has everything: a superb star (Judy Garland), a great supporting cast (headed by a young Angela Lansbury, with Ray Bolger and Marjorie Main), fantastic songs (featuring the Academy Award winning "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe"), and a funny plot. Susan Bradley (Garland) decides to marry the man she has been writing love letters to, and travels with the Harvey restaurant chain to a town in the Old West to meet him. When she gets there, she realizes the romantic letters were written by his friend, the owner of the town saloon (played by John Hodiak). Susan decides to join the Harvey girls in setting up the new restaurant. When the town leaders try to scare the Harvey girls away because they are taking business from the saloon, Susan must help keep the restaurant in order. Angela Lansbury shines as the villainous saloon girl, as do Marjorie Main as the Harvey House cook, and Ray Bolger as the local blacksmith."
The powers of wholesomeness
Jay Dickson | Portland, OR | 08/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most lavish of 40s MGM musicals, THE HARVEY GIRLS really shows off Judy Garland's considerable comedy skills, which she rarely got much of a chance to work with, and also shows her off at her absolute most unearthly beauty. She's terrific here, and she gets a great haunting opening solo from the caboose of a train and a great entrance into town with the famous "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe," one of the most excitingly staged numbers the Arthur Freed unit ever did (which is saying something). The rest of the film isn't up to Garland's level or the level of those two songs, although the hokey plot--about how the upright and starched Harvey Girls bring such an attractive wholesomeness to the Wild West that all the temptations of sin wilt before them--demonstrates pretty much the MGM moral ethos of the time. One added plus: a very young Angela Lansbury, as Garland's rival for John Hodiak (ugh), looking ravishing in multicolored lace teddies and oversized picture hats."
One of Judy Garland and MGM's best musicals ever!
Robert E. Gold | Whitestone, NY United States | 07/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I originally saw this lush technicolor musical on a Sunday afternoon (when I was in high school) wedged between commercials for detergents, paper towels, and various other household products. Despite the film being interrupted with these ads and being shown on a small tv screen, I was captivated by Judy Garland's beauty, sincerity, power to communicate as an artist, and her incomparable talent to act, sing, dance, and charm. This film does not have the same status as Meet Me in St. Louis or The Pirate or A Star is Born, but it is one of her best performances presented with a calmness and freshness that puts you, the viewer, at ease. Her character Susan Bradley is one of her best portrayals. She is funny, courageous, witty, determined, and strong. Like Esther Smith in Meet Me in St. Louis or Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz or Lily Mars in Presenting Lily Mars, Susan Bradley is a winner, the kind of woman you respect and admire, especially considering the time period the film was set in.
This dvd release is a true gift to those of us who are not only Judy Garland fans, but to anyone who has ever enjoyed the film musical. I won't rehash all the details found in other reviews of Amazon customers about the dvd, but I will add that the color transfer is simply awesome. It DOES look like the film was shot recently, not way back in 1945. The deleted musical numbers and the recording sessions for the songs is an extreme necessity for any Garland fan. I am really sorry they cut "My Intuition" since it's the only time Garland and John Hodiak sang together in the film, but I can understand why they cut "March of the Doagies." Don't get me wrong: I like it, but it almost looks a chase for Frankenstein's monster with Judy ending up on a stake being burned alive!
Now here's some trivia no one in their review has mentioned. Originally the film was going to be made as a drama for Lana Turner, but MGM, due to Rodgers and Hammerstein's success with "Oklahoma!", decided to turn it into a musical for their leading musical star. Originally, the story of the Harvey girls was based on book called The Harvey Girls by Samuel Hopkins Adams published in 1942. Another piece of trivia was that the lovely Cyd Charisse was dubbed in this film, but one would never notice since the dubber really captured her vocal quality and essence.
Without hesitation, this dvd release is an awesome addition to any collection. You won't be disappointed! Now we can await the arrival of other Judy Garland classic musicals for future releases. Who knows what other "undiscovered goodies" await us from the vaults of MGM?"
ONE OF JUDY'S BEST WITHOUT A DOUBT!
Sean Orlosky | Yorktown, IN United States | 08/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my personal favorites of the Judy Garland collection. "The Harvey Girls" has everything you could ask for in a bright, bouncy MGM musical: song, dance, comedy, drama, romance, action and fun. Garland plays Susan Bradley, a young Ohio girl who sets out to Arizona to wed, but instead decides to join a group of Harvey girls, waitresses at the newly established Harvey House. "Wherever a Harvey House stands, civilization is not far behind." The girls want to try to civilize the town of lusty cowpokes... but they have competition: an infamous brothel across the street, boasting some, er, charming madams headed by the sassy Em (a young Angela Lansbury)... and they are equally determined to drive the reforming parties out of town. They steal a cache of beef from the House (which gives us a hilarious scene in which Garland goes to retrieve the meat), shoot down chandeliers in the girls' bed chambers, and plant rattlesnakes in their dressing rooms. Between these messy episodes, Garland manages to find love with a young man (John Hodiak)... who also just happens to run the brothel. This film has a wonderful musical score, including the Oscar-winning "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe", "It's A Great Big World", and "Oh,You Kid!" among them. Certainly one of MGM's best musicals with a great supporting cast: including in fact, a post-Scarecrow Ray Bolger ("The Wizard of Oz"), Cyd Charisse, Chill Wills, and Virginia O'Brien, "The Harvey Girls" is a great big, bawdy musical that's always worth seeing."