Harvey Girls, The 1945
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Vittles, songs and dance are amply ladled out when Judy Garland headlines The Harvey Girls, a joyous musical slice of Americana celebrating the restaurants that brought extra helpings of civilization to Old West rail passengers. Highlights include Garland holding saloon patrons at jittery gunpoint to retrieve stolen beefsteaks, Ray Bolger’s loose-limbed comic hoofing, Virginia O’Brien’s sure-shot comic timing, Angela Lansbury’s stylish wickedness as a saloon singer and the “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” romp (nabbing it the 1946 Best Song Academy Award) that’s “deservedly famous, one of the most triumphant sequences in screen-musical history” (Pauline Kael, The New Yorker). All aboard!
When sold by Amazon.com, this product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In 1878, Fred Harvey contracted with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway for a chain of restaurant-hotels, the first multi-location eateries in America. After ridding his diners of hooligan waitstaff, in 1888 Harvey hired single young ladies who had to be white and "18 to 30 years of age, of good character, attractive and intelligent." They wore demure black & white uniforms, no makeup, black stockings and shoes when on-duty, and were carefully monitored by house mothers when not working. Harvey Girls signed one-year contracts. They had to forfeit half their pay if this term wasn't fulfilled.
It's a durable myth that Fred Harvey's waitresses helped tame the wild Southwest, but a 1942 novel and this MGM musical were results of that bit of folklore.
Great film musicals are a proper mix of song and story. THE HARVEY GIRLS fails to find that balance. Its eight Harry Warren/Johnny Mercer tunes seem like eighteen. Only one is truly superior and it comes near the film's beginning. "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" swings along nicely despite Marjorie Main's goshawful vocal partway in. When Judy takes a verse and chorus, it curiously slows to ballad speed.
Miss Garland is given slow numbers throughout this picture. Someone at MGM must've noticed, for in her later films she has more sprightly songs.
"Harvey Girls" is a variation on a standard Western theme, that of cattlemen vs. homesteaders. Here, the latest in a chain of railroad stop Harvey House restaurants and its prim and proper waitresses must compete for business with a saloon across the street that's staffed by young ladies of a freer nature. Harvey Girls are intimidated and some flee, food supplies are stolen and other devious tricks are used in an attempt to put the family-style eatery out of business.
A romantic rivalry for John Hodiak between Judy and Angela Lansbury is frequently interrupted by song and dance (Ray Bolger's rubber-legged routine is a terpsichorean highlight) and the story doesn't really start moving until the movie's last twenty minutes. Who wins Hodiak, the good girl or the bad? There's no surprises in store. "The Harvey Girls" is definitely a lesser example from MGM's golden musical era. (Watch for Judy's older sister, Virginia as a Harvey Girl.)
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 IMDb viewer poll rating.
(6.9) The Harvey Girls (1946) - Judy Garland/John Hodiak/Ray Bolger/Angela Lansbury/Preston Foster/Virginia O'Brien/Kenny Baker/Marjorie Main/Chill Wills/Cyd Charisse/Morris Ankrum/Norman Leavitt/Vernon Dent/Virginia Gumm
Garland plays a young woman,from Ohio, who has been corresponding by mail with a prospective groom. She falls in love with him through his letters and takes the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Dr railroad to Sandrock, New Mexico. When she arrives, she discovers that the MAN had his letters ghostwritten by saloon owner Ned Trent. Humiliated and angry, she joins the Harvey Girls, who work for a restaurant chain known as the Harvey House (historically true), which began opening these restaurants in the Old West.
Buy it and sing along with Judy and the gang in
"The Harvey Girls".