For Me and My Gal (1942)

Genres - Drama, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Drama, Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Judy Garland played her first real "adult" role in For Me and My Gal, proving that the little girl with the big voice could be as effective as the little lady with the big voice. Directed by Busby Berkeley with admirable restraint -- don't look here for exquisite patterns of marching soldiers or legions of USO girls performing drill routines -- Me and My Gal is surprisingly effective entertainment. While the film is essentially a backstager, the World War I setting gives it character and provides some highly charged emotional moments, especially Garland's excellent reaction to news of her brother's death. Garland's voice is in youthful splendor on such oldies as "After You've Gone and "It's a Long way to Tipperary." Me and My Gal featured another first, the film debut of Gene Kelly. He makes a strong impression, seeming at home on the screen as if he had been there for years. Kelly's cocky, slightly oily character is a bit of a heel, but Kelly plays him with enough charm to make up for his defects. (And, of course, he reveals his true blue colors by film's end.) Garland and Kelly reveal the same sparkling chemistry here that they would have in later films, and although not a dancer by training, Garland does remarkably well. While some moments seem corny by contemporary standards, and while the songs are often not as compelling as the stars, Me and My Gal is pleasant and diverting.