43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Christmas Story With Judy Garland In Fine Form
Despite this charming film's misleading title the majority of the story takes place in winter in the lead up to the Christmas season. It does however feature one of Judy Garland's best later performances made in an all to rare trauma free moment in the late 1940's for this legendary actress/singer when her health problems were affecting her ability to perform before the...
Published on June 14, 2004 by Simon Davis
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why send to U.S. with Korean subtitles?
The DVD seems to be fine. However, my 100 year old mother is the person using it, and she has difficulty turning off the Korean subtitles, which are very distracting to her, every time she plays it.
Published 13 months ago by Jacqueline
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Christmas Story With Judy Garland In Fine Form,
Despite this charming film's misleading title the majority of the story takes place in winter in the lead up to the Christmas season. It does however feature one of Judy Garland's best later performances made in an all to rare trauma free moment in the late 1940's for this legendary actress/singer when her health problems were affecting her ability to perform before the camera. Amazingly none of that is evident in "In the Good Old Summertime", which finds her delivering a wonderfully controlled and at times wistful performance as a young employee of a music store in turn of the century Chicago who is having a romantic letter correspondance with a penpal who addresses himself simply as "dear friend". Given its setting of a music shop "In the Good Old Summertime", also offers Judy Garland a number of opportunities to present some fine musical interludes in her unique style.
It was a stroke of genius by MGM to decide to remake as a musical it's earlier 1940 classic "The Shop Around the Corner" which starred James Stewart and another highly strung female performer in Margaret Sullavan. The results here are almost as effective as in the earlier film and Garland and Van Johnson make a delightful screen team. Based on the play "The Shop Around the Corner ", by Miklos Laszlo, the action this time has been moved from present day Budapest to turn of the century Chicago. Indeed this beautiful film bares a strong resemblance to Garland's earlier classic "Meet Me in St. Louis",and here the atmosphere is just as rich where the action centres around Oberkugen's Music Store run by the memorable Otto Oberkugan (S.Z.Sakall), and his colourful group of employees in the store. Chief among them is Andrew Larkin (Van Johnson) who is a promising store clerk. Andrew however has a very prickly relationship with new employee Veronica Fisher (Garland)and both seem to always find something to disagree about. However what both dont realise is that the romances they are respectively enjoying via the mail out of work hours and which have progressed from "intellectual topics" to real love, are actually with each other! As the pen pal letter exchange deepens into love it is agreed that the two will meet. Andrew however sees Veronica already waiting in the restaurant and in his disappointment decides not to go in. Thinking about it longer and realising Veronica is his pen pal Andrew decides to give her a hard time about it and in a funny situation enters the restaurant and engages her in conversation much to Veronica's consternation as she believes her "date", will be due to turn up at any minute. Back at the store however things slowly begin to thaw between the two and when Andrew gets into deep trouble with Mr. Oberkugan for lending his prize violin to friend Louise (Marcia Van Dyke), for an audition he finds himself fired. The staff rally around him and its up to Otto's long suffering secretary Nellie (Spring Byington)and Veronica to make him see the error of his ways. Otto relents for his behaviour and Andrew is made the new manager however Veronica decides she must be the one to leave and its only during a romantic interlude alone in the darkened shop on Christmas Eve that Andrew reveals his real love for her. Veronica also confesses her deep love for her former antagonist and the scene cuts away to the couple in a warm summer setting happily married and with a beautiful young two year old daughter (Liza Minneli).
"In The Good Old Summertime", boasts many memorable musical numbers including the title song, "I Don't Care", "Put Your Arms Around Me Honey", the comical "Play The Barbershop Chord", and my personal favourite "Merry Christmas". In all of these numbers apart from her beautiful singing style Judy Garland proves what an exceptional talent she was in comedy, pantomine and more energic pieces such as the barbershop number. Here is a talented actress in the full bloom of her capabilities who was unfortunately just about to exit the musical movie stage for quite some time. The supporting cast is exceptional with such fine comic talents as S.Z. Sakall and Spring Byington providing the top level support that they delivered in film after film in this period. Some rarities also pop up in "In The Good Old Summertime", as we see veteran Buster Keaton play Otto's brow beaten nephew to fine effect in his last MGM appearance and in the final scene reality and movie fantasy cross as Judy Garland's real life daughter Liza Minnelli plays her and Johnson's movie child in the last scene. Silent star Anna Q. Nilsson also has a small part as a woman buying one of the infuriating harps that reoccur in the story. MGM talent is abundantly on show in all departments here. The director Robert Z. Leonard who helmed the classic "Maytime", for MGM, was only brought in after Garland nixed plans by the studio to give the assignment to her husband Vincente Minnelli as the pair were having difficulties at the time. The choreography is top rate and was handled by Robert Alton who was responsible for the innovative dance numbers in Garland's previous film "Easter Parade". Cedric Gibbons' fine work in set design also deserves mention for giving the film its beautiful appearance and period flavour.
After this effort Judy Garland sadly went into a steep decline health wise and after completing only one more film "Summer Stock", and being released from an aborted attempt to film "Royal Wedding ", with Fred Astaire her MGM contract was terminated. None of this sadness is evident in "In The Good Old Summertime", thankfully and what we have here is a movie with gorgeous technicolour, many fine musical numbers delivered by Garland and a funny, and touching story set against a beautiful "MGM", Christmas. Enjoy Judy Garland at the top of her talents in MGM's "In The Good Old Summertime".
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD debut of MGM classic,
This year 2004 marks the first appearance of this great Judy Garland film (one of her last for MGM) on DVD. This film is based upon an earlier James Stewart film THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER and was recently remade as YOU'VE GOT MAIL. This new restored print is an improvement over the previous VHS release. The picture has been cleaned up and colors look brighter and bolder than ever before, as we expect with 3-strip Technicolor, though there are still a FEW age related artifacts present, but I am forgiving enough to look beyond this. In general, the new transfer is beautiful. The soundtrack sounds equally as impressive and has been cleaned up very nicely for this release.
Included on the disc are trailers for this film, THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, and YOU'VE GOT MAIL. I really don't know why the latter was included here, it lends nothing whatsoever to this release, and practically everyone in the country has seen it by now. There are no other "extras" to speak of. We wish that the deleted musical number, "Last Night When We Were Young," sung by Judy Garland, had been included as a bonus on this disc. Both the footage and soundtrack for this number survive, and it was included in the Outtakes section of the fourth disc of the new That's Entertainment 4-disc boxed set, released this past October. Why wasn't it included here?
On the whole, this is a very commendable release from Warner Home Video, but if you still have the VHS tape there's no real special reason to run out and buy the DVD.
Look for an 18 month old Liza Minnelli during the closing scenes, making her film debut.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In The Good Old Summertime,
With so much tallent, it's difficult to tell who will end up stealing the show. They just don't make movies like this anymore. Although Van Johnson can sing, dance and act, he comes off to me as a sort of a heel, especially for the way he treats Louise, who is in love with him. My favorite part is at the dinner when Judy Garland sings "The Barbershop Chord" with the quartet. Just when it seems it can't get any better, Judy rips the roof off with her version of " I don't Care". Buster Keaton who is given a very few lines to speak just about steals the show when he masterfully demolishes his uncle's violin. I saw this picture when it came out in 1949, and have watched it many times afterwards. Each time I see something I didn't see before. Its simply wonderful!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the flick to see from Garland's MGM years!,
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Why this movie is not heralded as the best of Garland's work from that era is a mystery to me. It is one of the few films where the material is up to the par of its magnificent star. Her renderings of the songs here is beyond great -- especially the joyous "Play That Barbershop Chord." Boy, could she put a number over, like nobody before or ever since!
For an MGM flick, this movie is remarkably UNcloying, and the plot is pretty cute. Van Johnson actually generates electricity (!) in the second to final scene where he confesses his love to Garland.
See this great film if you like Garland!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT CHRISTMAS FILM,
Despite the title , this movie is really a Christmas film. Everything in this film seems to work. The beautiful sets and costumes, the music, and even the falling snow. The story is not complicated ,but doesnt need to be. This is the kind of movie that you just want to lay back and forget your troubles and just enjoy. Of course the magic of Garland is the highlight of the film. Although this movie is not as famous as "Meet Me in St. Louis" it is still a great holiday film that brings me joy every Christmas............
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Delight,
This is my favorite Judy Garland movie. The DVD is a faithful reproduction of the movie and has, as expected, a pictorial clarity unheard of in the movie era. The flawless reproduction is tarnished, however, in a scene near the end of the movie. In the scene, the lights are low and were corrected to present reality. They were rendered so dark that the stars, Van Johnson and Judy Garland, were nothing more than silhouettes on the screen. From the tape version of the movie, this scene was one of Judy's most hilarious scenes, attributed to the expressions she delivered in response to Mr. Johnson's advances, both of which were unseen in the black. The DVD is worth watching, but, for students of Judy Garland's talents, a tape version clarifies the omissions of the DVD.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Done But Conventional,
This story of two co-workers who loathe each other--and then perversely fall in love when they correspond anonymously through a lonelyhearts club--has been filmed three times, first in the 1930s as THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER with stars James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan and most recently in the 1990s as YOU'VE GOT MAIL with stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. This 1940s musical version, which sets the story in an early 1900s Chicago music shop, stars Judy Garland and Van Johnson.
Although the score is not in the least memorable, Garland is in fine voice, and although they lack any real chemistry she and Van Johnson play well together. More appealing is a romantic subplot concerning shop owner S.Z. Sakall and his long time ladyfriend Spring Byington, who are extremely charming in their roles and quite a bit of fun to watch. Fans of Buster Keaton will also enjoy seeing him in a small cameo role, and film buffs will be delighted to see Garland's daughter Liza Minnelli make her film debut in the movie's closing moments.
Although there is a great deal to enjoy here, the plot and presentation of the film is highly conventional, and the project would have benefited from a more gifted directorial vision. Four stars as a quality product with remarkable stars; don't expect too much and you'll enjoy it quite a bit.
--GFT (Amazon.com Reviewer)--
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this movie,
I am so happy this movie is coming out on DVD on Apr. 6/04.. I have it on VHS for a long time and replay it from time to time.
But it will be nice to have the DVD version. I thought Van Johnson and Judy Garland were perfect in this movie. They both work in a music store in the early part of the century. First they were adversaries, then later began to like each other and not till near the end of the movie, do they realize they know each other better than they thought. Also, very good in the cast is the very likeable S.Z.Zakall as the owner of the music store and Spring Byington as his assistant. You will also see Buster Keaton as Zakall's son in the movie. Its a nice mixture of songs, comedy and drama. You get a few good laughs. The original movie version with same story was with James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan which is also available on DVD. But I always liked Van Johnson and Judy Garland, so prefer that version. Its one of my favorite movies, but judge for yourself.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judy at her best!,
By A Customer
This movie has everything going for it, great songs, good storyline, and likeable characters, and manages to keep you watching it all the way to the end. And I know this as I have watched it many times. And, as I'm a Judy Garland fan I think that this film is wonderful. Definately a MUST SEE film.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Judy Has it All Together,
Through Judy Garland's long MGM film career (1936 - 1950), one can often find her in good physical condition or singing beautifully or seeming happy and at ease with her material. But you don't find all three ducks lined up in a row all the time.
In the Good Old Summertime is one such happy occasion. Looking voluptuous but not fat, and remarkably healthy, Judy sings and
dances with gusto and appears to know she's in a winner. ITGOS IS a winner, resting primarily on Judy's shoulders, but gaining much wit and charm from the able support of Van Johnson, S.Z."Cuddles" Sakall (he of the Hungarian accent and slapping his face and exclaiming "Cheeee!"), adorable matron Spring Byington and deadpan legend Buster Keaton. Based tightly on The Shop Around the Corner, only a few changes are made to this story of pen-pal sweethearts who, unbeknownst to them, know and loathe each other as they work together in a music store. Of course, the outcome is predictable, so let's not go there. Suffice it to say that ITGOS is a little gem of a musical, worth owning and cracking open once in a while. And a pleasant surprise - maybe it shouldn't be- is Garland's skillful way with comedy.
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