Synopsis by Hal Erickson
In the Good Old Summertime is a musical remake of the 1940 Ernst Lubitsch comedy The Shop Around the Corner, which in turn was based on a play by Miklos Laszlo. The locale has been changed from Hungary to Chicago, but the turn-of-century time frame and the plot remain the same. Van Johnson and Judy Garland play a couple of clerks in a sheet-music store who detest each other on sight. Both reserve their words of affection for their respective pen pals, whom they've never met. The audience, of course, is aware that Johnson is Garland's pen pal, and she his, but it's fun to anticipate the fireworks when the characters on screen make this discovery. Buster Keaton, then employed by MGM as a "comedy consultant," is provided with one of his best parts in years as the bumbling nephew of shop owner S.Z. Sakall. The songs sung in Summertime consist of period numbers like "I Don't Care", "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie", and the title tune. This is the film in which 18-month-old Liza Minnelli (Garland's daughter) toddles into the closing number, though it is not her film debut, as has often been claimed: an even younger Minnelli popped up briefly in Garland's previous MGM musical Easter Parade.
correspondence, battle-of-the-sexes, behind-the-scenes, feud, love, pen-pals, romance