- In the Good Old Summertime
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So his father ships him to an all-male college out West where there's not supposed to It's turn of the century America when Andrew and Veronica first meet - by crashing into each other.
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They develop an instant and mutual dislike which intensifies when, later on, Andrew is forced to hire Veronica as a saleslady at Oberkugen's music store. What the two don't know is that while they may argue and fight constantly throughout the day, they are actually engaged in an innocent, romantic and completely anonymous relationship by night, through the post office.
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I won't go into plot details, as it's been done by so many other reviewers before me. Instead, I'll just share my observations as a fan of classic musicals, and specifically of Judy Garland. Personally, I think it was during period when Judy looked and sounded the best.
And incidentally, it was also the period when the classic MGM studio system was at the apex of its efficiency in churning out one great musical after another before its demise later in that decade. In Good Old Summertime, one can't help but realize, with much regret, that the greatest period of the good old musical films and of Judy Garland was beginning to wane. And it is noticeable from quality of music scores and from changes in her appearance also.
Of course, it's still a very enjoyable movie, especially if you watched one of the other movies based on the same story. And Judy still looks amiable and sounds great even when she had to sing in such self-deprecating manner as in 'I Don't Care', which feels very different from other instances of similar comic approach of her previous films like 'When I Look at You' in Presenting Lily Mars, or 'Couple of Swells' from Easter Parade, for example.
In the Good Old Summertime
Even though the movie is categorized as a musical, it's certainly not Harvey Girls where you can enjoy such trademark MGM scenes, like that big, complex sequence as 'Atchison Topika and the Santa Fe'. Back then, the Freed Unit with so many talented actors and actresses were so efficient that they didn't need too many camera cuts or even extensive rehearsals to create a such captivating 20 min long sequence.
In Good Old Summertime, Judy Garland is almost the only person who sings, and there is no 'sequence' to talk of, as most of the numbers are done by her singing solo, except for the Barbershop Quartet and 'I Don't Care' numbers. In general, songs are less memorable than those from her other movies. Judy still looks attractive, but not more so than in her earlier movies. Her personal troubles in real life begin to take their toll on her appearances by the time she appeared in this movie. Van Johnson is amiable, but he's certainly not her ideal partner in a musical film, as he can't really sing or dance like Mickey Rooney or Gene Kelly.
"In The Good Old Summertime" lyrics
All in all, it's a still very enjoyable movie, but if you are a Judy Garland fan like me, you might want to try her other films first, preferably one from the period, if you haven't seen them all already. And when you have already seen most of them, and when you are sure to understand why people keep praising Judy Garland and her movies from her better days even today, then with a preparation of your mind for experiencing some regrets and pangs which might result from seeing her lesser self in a lesser kind of a musical, you are ready to enjoy this movie as a devote Judy Garland's fan.
It's something similar to what it requires to enjoy her late year recordings like the famous Carnegie Hall album. It pains to notice how she lost her range and her once impeccable vibrato became one that sounds artificial and forced. But at least, it's Judy Garland and I believe that would suffice to enjoy it for most her ardent fans. As to what seems deficient, they can supplement it by their memories of what she has been in her prime time.
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External Reviews. Metacritic Reviews. Photo Gallery. Trailers and Videos. Crazy Credits. Everybody associated with its filming must have been touched by the magical, wispy charm of the work because there is an air of gaiety and wholesomeness about "In the Good Old Summertime," which defies specific description. Even though the four scenarists who revamped the play have used only a thread of the original idea, Mr. Laszlo should not feel unhappy.
For the spirit of his creation not only remains as the dominating influence, but appears to have been improved.
There is enough to delight the whole family in this picture. For the oldsters there is a chucklesome and tenderly affectionate romance between S. Sakall of the cherubic mien and the charming Spring Byington. For the young in heart and the "in-betweeners" there is a happily tempestuous relationship involving Judy Garland and Van Johnson. They are the "Dear Friends" of a correspondence romance who work together in a music shop without the faintest suspicion of their mutual dream world admiration.
Fact is, these two have quite a job just trying to be civil in their working association. Sorry, but we've just about let the whole plot slip out in those few sentences, for that double-angled boy-meets-girl device is the tenuous structure on which "In the Good Old Summertime" rises to grand scale entertainment proportions.
The fun and the charm of the picture is primarily sustained by the attitudes of the players in face of minor crises and incidental bits of business which just seem to happen with consumate naturalness. The film would go on to become a huge hit, with audiences actually applauding after several of Garland's performances as if it were a live show.
Mary Astor was originally slated to play the role of "Nellie", but was deemed too young, so Spring Byington was reassigned from the role of Veronica's aunt to this larger role of "Nellie Burke. Buster Keaton, who had choreographed the scene in which Oberkugen's nephew ruins his violin, was given the part by director Robert Z. Leonard when he realized that Keaton was the only person who could perform this feat without it looking fake.
In the Good Old Summertime - Wikipedia
The role originally was scripted as a much younger man to vie more for Judy's character's affections. Keaton also devised the first comically disastrous meeting of Judy and Van's characters - which shows off Judy's expert comic timing and Van's too! The story's most recent incarnation was the non-musical comedy film starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan titled You've Got Mail - updating it to modern day New York and the electronic age with the two leads communicating via email. The title is misleading, in that most of the film takes place during the Christmas holiday season.
It has since become a minor Christmas classic airing each year during the holidays on the Turner Classic Movies network. Original VHS Edition. DVD Edition. Second VHS Edition.