This glorified Technicolor commercial for the Fred Harvey restaurants stars Judy Garland as a 19th-century mail-order bride. Upon arriving in New Mexico, Garland discovers that her husband-to-be is the town drunk. She cuts her losses and takes a job at the local Harvey restaurant, an establishment which endeavors to bring a little civilization and ...
This glorified Technicolor commercial for the Fred Harvey restaurants stars Judy Garland as a 19th-century mail-order bride. Upon arriving in New Mexico, Garland discovers that her husband-to-be is the town drunk. She cuts her losses and takes a job at the local Harvey restaurant, an establishment which endeavors to bring a little civilization and class to the wide open spaces. Harvey's operation is challenged by saloon-owner John Hodiak, corrupt-judge Preston S. Foster, and local-madam Angela Lansbury. With the help of tenderfoot Ray Bolger, Garland and her fellow waitresses foil the corrupt elements in town. Prominent in the supporting cast are Cyd Charisse, Marjorie Main, Chill Wills, Kenny Baker and Virginia O'Brien (whose musical numbers aren't quite as rambunctious as the contributions of the others, mainly because O'Brien was pregnant during filming). The songs are for the most part perfunctory, with the spectacular exception of the Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer's Oscar-winning "Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe." The Harvey Girls is tenuously based on a more sober-sided historical volume by Samuel Hopkins Adams. Hal Erickson, Rovi
For those who wanted more of "The Wizard of Oz", there are bits of its talent to be seen here. Set in the transition period from Wild to Tamed West, Judy Garland and Ray Bolger entertain us with JG's "The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" and Bolger does some of his famous vaudville birthed dance routines. This is a story centered around the beginning of the first chain restaraunt, Harvey House which serviced the trains transporting people through that territory.
Many aspects of this film had to have been noted by subsequent Hollywood prods/dirs. The opening scene is reprised in "The Greatest Show on Earth", "Annie Get Your Gun" and "Show Boat". Some of the skits also are reprised like the charity dance of "Oklahoma!" is very much like the church social affair in this film. With imitators like those, you know you'll be entertained.
This movie was made in the mid-Forties but somehow the DVD got Director George Sidney to do a voice over commentary! There are also a couple of deleted musical scenes written by Johnny Mercer that went to the cutting room floor. Why? I can't say. I thought they fit nicely in the story.
Should you watch it? Well, it is Judy Garland in her prime as an actress and singer, so, yah, watch it.