Tuesday, December 11, 2007

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

judymickey

 

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.

 

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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?"

THEY SURE DID.

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'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.

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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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