Small Town Girl (1953)

Genres - Musical, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Romance  |   Release Date - Apr 10, 1953 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Small Town Girl is the sort of musical that would not have been out of place in 1943 but was beginning to feel a bit passé by 1953. The characters have all been seen before, and the story is a mere thread upon which to hang a series of musical numbers and incidental scenes. To really work, those numbers need to be real knock-outs, and most of Girl's score is nothing special. However, several of the numbers benefit from Busby Berkeley's unique staging ideas. Bobby Van's "pogo" dance through the streets of the town perfectly captures the innocent joyousness that much of the film artificially strives for, and the "I've Got to Hear That Beat" number -- with dozens of disembodied hands playing instruments as Ann Miller dances perilously around them -- is one of the great moments in cinematic musicals. Miller also excels in "My Gaucho," and Van has some nice moments in "Take Me to Broadway"; had he come along ten years earlier, Van would have had a real career as a song-and-dance man. Jane Powell is fine if a bit dull; there's not a lot for her to work with here. Perfectly adequate and acceptable entertainment, Girl's slender plot keeps it from being more than moderately successful.