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Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection”

(Warner Home Video. 5 Discs. Not Rated. B&W. Full Screen.) Babes In Arms (1939, directed by Busby Berkeley), Strike Up The Band (1940, dir. Berkeley), Babes on Broadway (1942, dir. Berkeley), Girl Crazy (1943, dir. Norman Taurog).

The bar’s been raised yet again for DVD collector sets…this is the best one I’ve seen this year. Like William Powell and Myrna Loy, whose set I reviewed earlier, Rooney and Garland were romantic partners only on-screen, but were lifelong friends off. Their great talent – and affection for each other – shine through in these enjoyable musicals. I admire Garland’s voice, but really love Rooney, who can do literally anything: act, sing, dance, clown, play piano, drums, and on and on with some crazy unflagging energy. Cute at best, he has a certain charm which helps him pull off love scenes with any number of women, almost all of whom are taller than he! Look for the present-day star, now 87 (Garland died in 1969), introducing each movie. Best of the lot is Girl Crazy, primarily due to the wonderful Gershwin score played by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra…but all are worthwhile. Also included is a 5th disc with loads of extras, a 48-page guide to the collection with plenty of photos, and a portfolio of 20 behind-the-scenes photos. Now all I want for Christmas is for Warner to release a complete set of all 15 of the Andy Hardy movies on DVD.