FOR ME AND MY GAL (1942) B/W 104m dir: Busby Berkeley
w/Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, George Murphy, Marlo Eggerth, Richard Quine, Keenan Wynn
For his film debut, Kelly is a hoofer who's all heel, even unto injuring himself to escape the draft (rough stuff in 1942). Garland teams well with the newcomer. Busby Berkeley's direction is attentive and fluid. And if the script had taken Kelly a bit further the film might have been really extraordinary.
From Variety 's review of the film: "Story [by Howard Emmett Rogers with screenplay by Richard Sherman, Fred Fincklehoffe, and and Sid Silvers] of vaudeville troupers before and during the First World War is obvious, naive and sentimental. It's also genuine and affectionate and lively.
"Picture's title is taken from one of the song numbers, the oldie, 'For Me and My Gal.' The tune that brings Judy Garland and Gene Kelly together, first as a vaudeville team and ultimately as a romance, it gets a sock presentation in a song-and-dance routine by them.
"The picture's early scenes, as the vaudevillians tour the sticks and dream of someday playing the Palace, are colorful and convincing. Interpolated through them and the subsequent war sequences are numerous old faves, from 'Beautiful Doll' and 'You Wore a Tulip' to the World War I standbys, 'Over There,' 'Long, Long Trail,' 'Oui, Oui, Marie' and so on.
"Garland is a knockout as the warm-hearted young song-and-dance girl, selling a number of the songs persuasively and getting by neatly in the hoofing routines with Kelly. Murphy is ingratiating as Garland's faithful but mute suitor, while Kelly gives a vividly drawn portrayal of the song-and-dance man and imperfect hero, practically another 'Pal Joey' character that he played so well on Broadway in the musical of that name."