Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Girl Crazy Again (but this time it’s old school)



Several years ago, I asked my sister Shawn what she wanted for her birthday; she told me she'd always wanted 'Girl Crazy', one of those early 40s Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney films (and considered their best).

I was surprised that I wasn't familiar with the film, I’m a huge Judy Garland fan myself.  I also couldn’t believe how difficult it was to find the movie (and the price, which was much higher than average).

I asked to borrow the movie, and was shocked--I loved it even more than I'd anticipated.  (Believe it or not, I saw 'Babes in Arms' for the first time just a year ago.)  I promised myself to collect these films someday.




Mickey & Judy in 'Strike Up the Band' (1940)


I'm glad I waited.  Several weeks ago, I heard that Warner Brothers was releasing a 4 picture set of Garland & Rooney's films.  They were even on promotion ($27.00 at DeepDiscount).   While waiting for it to arrive, I thought "Hey, waitaminute--Warner DVD has a reputation for putting out premium sets...I wonder if they'll do anything special with this one?"




'Babes in Arms', one of the movies in the collection


Opening the box made me feel like a kid on Christmas morning.  Inside the collection is 'Babes in Arms', 'Strike Up the Band', Babes on Broadway', & 'Girl Crazy'.  And not only have the movies been digitally restored (and look startlingly new), they're presented in their original theatrical format: each film comes complete with movie trailers, war-reels, intermission, short films, cartoons.  It's brilliant.


The set also includes:

A beautiful hardcover book detailing the history of their working together, with reproductions of all the movie posters

A photo album with 20 5x7 glossy photos of Judy & Mickey; publicity stills, rehearsing on the set, costume changes, even going to dinner.  (What's remarkable is that they're NOT in a book--they're 20 photographs, beautifully bordered & suitable for framing?!)

A 'Bonus DVD' which sets off the entire collection (and almost made me cry when I put it in my dvd player).  It's the 'Judy Garland Songbook', a gorgeously produced collection of 25 of her songs from her movies--including her later films, i.e. with Gene Kelly, 'A Star is Born', etc.   I had NO IDEA this was part of the collection, and I would've gladly paid the collection price for this one disc alone.

My only regret is that I didn't buy two; the set is now $52.00, and I'm betting my sister Shawn would love this too.  (I'll be watching for the next sale!)


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