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Little Nellie Kelly (1940)

Judy Garland , George Murphy , Norman Taurog  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Little Nellie Kelly + Thoroughbreds Don't Cry + Listen, Darling
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Product Details

  • Actors: Judy Garland, George Murphy, Charles Winninger, Douglas Mcphail
  • Directors: Norman Taurog
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2011
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004T6IACG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,833 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In this whimsical bit o' blarney from George M. Cohan's 1922 hit, Judy Garland plays dual roles: plucky Irish immigrant Nellie (Judy's first grownup part) and her daughter, Little Nellie. Both Nellies contend with the same cantankerous coot, the laze-about father (Charles Winninger) who fusses mightily when Nellie marries an upstanding lad (George Murphy) and repeats the process years later when Little Nellie falls in love. Radiant and winning, Garland sings It's a Great Day for the Irish, Singin' in the Rain and more classic tunes. But the film's finest moment may be the heartrending hospital scene in which Garland's touching, emotionally subtle performance gives promise of the superb dramatic actress she would become.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Garland March 9, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
They don't make 'em like this any more, arguably with good reason. However, Garland is luscious and joyful in this film, which pre-dates her quirky gestures and throbbing vocals. Here she is all sweetness and light, especially in the sublime "Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow" and "Singing in the Rain" numbers. God was she an original! Her luminous screen presence is what makes this film work.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judy Garland Shines in one of her Greatest Films! January 12, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Little Nellie Kelly is a wonderful example of how talented Judy Garland was. She was just 18 years old when she starred as a Young Irish beauty who falls in love with George Murphy, marries and dies in Child Birth. Then Garland plays her own 16 year old daughter Little Nellie and she did it brilliantly. One of the most lavish numbers in this film is "Nellie Kelly I Love You". Garland sings "Singin' In The Rain" just 12 years before Gene Kelly and her version is dynamite. As Wife Nellie She gets her first kiss and as child Nellie struggles to understand why her father (Murphy) and Grandfather (Charles Winninger) don't get along. This film proves that Dorothy was capable of enchanting an audinence as an adult movie Actress.
If you have only seen one film of Judy Garland then you have to see this one. You will fall in love with Judy while she falls in love on screen.
Little Nellie Kelly is a charmer in the Grand tradition. Based on a 1920's Broadway Musical this MGM hit features music by George M. Cohen.
Kimberly Loeffler, Forever a Judy Fan!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mild Entertainment July 2, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Judy Garland was a sensation in THE WIZARD OF OZ and BABES IN ARMS--but by 1940 she was eighteen years old, and LITTLE NELLY KELLY finds her in transition between the child star she was and the adult star she would become. Based on a George M. Cohan play, the film offers Garland a double role: first as Irish-born Nelly Kelly and later as her teenage daughter, "Little" Nelly Kelly. The storyline is sentimental. Against father Charles Winninger's wishes, Garland marries George Murphy and leaves Ireland for America--with her stubborn and ill-tempered father in tow. After becoming an American citizen, she dies in childbirth (Garland's only death scene, and she plays it very well), leaving possessive grandfather and police officer husband to wangle over her surviving child.
The first portion of the film is the weakest, with neither Garland nor Murphy entirely at home with their Irish accents; another flaw is the fact that Winninger's irrascable grandfather eventually becomes a shade too obnoxious to fully engage our sympathies and Murphy is none-too-convincing in old-age make-up. Although not a musical per se, the real highlight of the film are Garland's few songs, which include "A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow," "A Great Day for the Irish," and an elaborate staging of "Singin' In The Rain." Although she still shows traces of the affectations forced upon her in previous films by director Busby Berkley, she performs both her numbers and her scenes with a playfulness and sincerity that is quite charming.
Although expertly made, LITTLE NELLY KELLY is essentially an inexpensive programmer designed to test Garland's potential as an adult actress--a test which she clearly passes. But the film is so greatly overshadowed by both her earlier and later achievements that it is negligable in both her cannon and the musical genre as a whole, and as such will be of interests more to Garland completists than to casual viewers. Recommended for hardcore fans only.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Judy Garland movie in the world! September 8, 2004
A Kid's Review
Format:VHS Tape
I am a big fan of Judy Garland. And actually, I'm 14 years old. i just don't have an email address, so i used the kid's version. ANYWAYS! I really love Judy Garland's movies. I have been a fan of them for years. i just wish that more young people liked her movies and music.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Judy Garland worked very hard to play both mother Nellie Kelly and daughter Little Nellie Kelly in this movie-and it shows! Her performance is both flawless and a treat for Garland fans. She dances, acts and sings very well. (Look for a brief "Singing in the Rain" by Garland toward the end of the picture; this movie was adapted from a play by George M. Cohan.) I honestly don't understand why the movie is out of print and not yet on DVD!
This movie has the only death scene Garland ever performed in the movies. A tearjerker! The mother Nellie Kelly dies just after giving birth to her daughter.
The movie tells the story of the Kelly family beginning in Ireland circa 1900. Nellie has fallen in love with her beau and they marry much to the chagrin of Nellie's stubborn father played by Charles Winninger. (His acting is extremely convincing, too.) They travel to America and the story continues with a fine view of the Irish immigrant experience. The Saint Patrick's Day parade scene positively shines!
There is also a good deal of time spent fleshing out the relationships between the members of this small family. The father of the first Nellie fights stubbornly with his son-in-law through the years. (He doesn't mind mooching off them, however, with never a thank you whatsoever.)
Overall, I recommend this movie for any Garland fan as well as fans of the M-G-M musicals. The detail of the family relationships and the immigrant experience make this a very noteworthy movie, especially when added to Judy Garland's incredible flair for acting so convincingly, singing and dancing!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Irene
5.0 out of 5 stars another judy garland favourite.
another good film from her,i like the dual role she played in it, the songs were bright and cheerful thankyou.
Published 2 months ago by shirley till
5.0 out of 5 stars Just A Pretty Girl Milkin' Her Cow
A judy Classic with some great tunes! I enjoyed watching this movie, and happy to have as part of my collection.
Published 10 months ago by Oliver Hicks
4.0 out of 5 stars great
one of my favorit judy garlan movies.i don't what els to say so i'm just writing to fill in rhe space
Published 10 months ago by TOM HOLT
3.0 out of 5 stars "You're a big man....but a small hat fits you."
I wish I could say I loved this film but the most I can swear to is that I grew to begrudgingly like it by the end (after an extremely rocky start). Read more
Published 11 months ago by Einsatz
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy Plot And Judy Sings
I like this movie. I have seen it many times and since I am a huge Judy Garland fan, it seemed like a good choice for my home film library. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Crabby Abby
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes!
Another judy garland movie for my collection. I will own them all, at least I think I will. There may be some I don't like
Published 14 months ago by Danae M. McShane
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Nelly Kelly
I first saw it on the silver screen.when it first came out. I can see it whenever I like now.
Published 22 months ago by bezza
2.0 out of 5 stars Boy oh boy
but this is a tough one.

It's Judy Garland, and that's always a plus. But the script is lousy. Like, REALLY LOUSY. Read more
Published on May 7, 2012 by Ben
5.0 out of 5 stars Judy!
Judy right near her prime with a death and rebirth scene played brilliantly as only she could play it. George Murphy for support and lots of fun songs. Read more
Published on April 9, 2012 by Ethel F Dickinson
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