The Harvey Girls (1946)

101 or 104 mins | Musical | January 1946

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HISTORY

The film's opening credits acknowledge the "help of the Fred Harvey Company on many historical details" in the picture. The following written dedication appears at the beginning of the film, after the opening credits: "When Fred Harvey pushed his chain of restaurants farther and farther west along the lengthening track of the Santa Fe, he brought with him one of the first civilizing forces this land has known--The Harvey Girls. The winsome waitresses conquered the West as surely as the Davy Crocketts and the Kit Carsons--not with powder horn and rifle, but with a beefsteak and a cup of coffee. To these unsung pioneers, whose successors today still carry on in the same tradition, we sincerely dedicate this motion picture."
       Although the story of the film is fictional, many of the pictured details concerning the establishment of Fred Harvey restaurants across the western United States in the late 1800's are based in fact. The first Harvey House opened in Topeka, KS in the late 1870's, after which many more were established along the Santa Fe rail line west to the Pacific coast. The opening credits indicate that the picture was based on Samuel Hopkins Adams' novel and on an original story by Eleanore Griffin and William Rankin. A Var news item reported that a U.S. District Court judge ruled in Loew's, Inc.'s favor in a suit filed by former Santa Fe railroad man Clifford Funkhouser, who alleged that M-G-M had "pirated" his story about the famed Harvey girls.
       An M-G-M News item found in the AMPAS Library production file on the film, and believed to be from 1944, notes that actress Ann ... More Less

The film's opening credits acknowledge the "help of the Fred Harvey Company on many historical details" in the picture. The following written dedication appears at the beginning of the film, after the opening credits: "When Fred Harvey pushed his chain of restaurants farther and farther west along the lengthening track of the Santa Fe, he brought with him one of the first civilizing forces this land has known--The Harvey Girls. The winsome waitresses conquered the West as surely as the Davy Crocketts and the Kit Carsons--not with powder horn and rifle, but with a beefsteak and a cup of coffee. To these unsung pioneers, whose successors today still carry on in the same tradition, we sincerely dedicate this motion picture."
       Although the story of the film is fictional, many of the pictured details concerning the establishment of Fred Harvey restaurants across the western United States in the late 1800's are based in fact. The first Harvey House opened in Topeka, KS in the late 1870's, after which many more were established along the Santa Fe rail line west to the Pacific coast. The opening credits indicate that the picture was based on Samuel Hopkins Adams' novel and on an original story by Eleanore Griffin and William Rankin. A Var news item reported that a U.S. District Court judge ruled in Loew's, Inc.'s favor in a suit filed by former Santa Fe railroad man Clifford Funkhouser, who alleged that M-G-M had "pirated" his story about the famed Harvey girls.
       An M-G-M News item found in the AMPAS Library production file on the film, and believed to be from 1944, notes that actress Ann Sothern was set for a starring role in the film along with Judy Garland. A Jan 1944 NYT news item noted that Lana Turner would "most likely" be starred in the film. Although a Dec 1944 HR news item stated that Edward Arnold was cast in the part of "the big town boss," and although he was listed in the cast in the HR production charts, he did not appear in the released film. According to M-G-M studio publicity information, "King Charles," the horse that Preston Foster rode in the film, was the same horse featured in the 1944 M-G-M film National Velvet (see below). Studio records also indicate that two years of research was completed to recreate the film's authentic sets and backgrounds of late nineteenth century New Mexico. Props for the Alhambra Bar and Dance Hall were rented from the Pony Express Museum. A Feb 1945 HCN article noted that two units were used to shoot background scenes. Some filming took place in Victorville and Chatsworth, CA, and in Monument Valley, AZ. According to modern sources, writer Hagar Wilde was assigned to the film. Modern sources also note that some scenes between Ray Bolger and Virginia O'Brien were cut from the final film, and that other scenes between them were never filmed because O'Brien's pregnancy was becoming noticeable.
       Three Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren songs that were recorded for the film but cut before its release were: "March of the Doagies," "Hayride" and "My Intuition." Warren and Mercer received an Academy Award for their song "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," and Lennie Hayton received a nomination for his musical score. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Jan 1946.
---
Collier's
17 Nov 1945.
---
Daily Variety
31 Dec 45
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Jan 46
p. 11.
Hollywood Citizen-News
5 Feb 1945.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 1941.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 1945.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 45
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 46
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Mar 45
p. 2354.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Jan 46
p. 2785.
New York Times
9 Jan 1944.
---
New York Times
25 Jan 46
p. 26.
Variety
2 Jan 46
p. 8.
Variety
6 Aug 1952.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Eleanor Troy
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Cost des by
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
Vocal arr
SOUND
Rec dir
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Mus mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Matte paintings, cam
Transparency projection shots
DANCE
Musical numbers staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Research dir
Asst research dir
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Cyd Charisse
Singing voice double for Angela Lansbury
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Assoc
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Harvey Girls by Samuel Hopkins Adams (New York, 1942).
SONGS
"In the Valley (Where the Evening Sun Goes Down)," "Wait and See," "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," "Oh, You Kid," "It's a Great Big World," "Swing Your Partner Round and Round," "The Wild, Wild West" and "The Train Must Be Fed," music andy lyrics by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren.
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1946
Production Date:
early January--early June 1945
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 December 1945
Copyright Number:
LP87
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
101 or 104
Length(in feet):
9,097
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10927
SYNOPSIS

In the 1880's, as the Santa Fe rail line expands westward into the American frontier, Harvey House restaurants open one after another at train stops along the way. Hoping to find work at Harvey's newest restaurant in Sand Rock, New Mexico, young women from all over the country board trains for the small Western town. With few exceptions, most of the young women traveling to Sand Rock are going there to work for the Harvey House. Susan Bradley, however, is going there to meet H. H. Hartsey, an eloquent letter-writer whom she has never met, but has consented to marry. En route to Sand Rock, Susan befriends some of the waitresses. Soon after arriving in Sand Rock, Susan meets the rough hewn Hartsey, but they both immediately agree that they are mismatched and call off the wedding. When Hartsey tells Susan that his letters were written by Ned Trent, co-owner of the Alhambra Saloon, she marches over there and calls Ned a "yellow dog." Trent tries to make amends with Susan by offering to pay her way back to Ohio, but she refuses to take his money and promises to run him and his disreputable saloon out of town. Soon after taking a job at the Harvey House, Susan proves her resolve to get tough with the Alhambra when she bursts into the saloon with two six-shooters, and demands the return of meat stolen from the Harvey House. One night, when Alhambra men fire a shot into the Harvey Girls' dormitory, Susan and other waitresses declare that the feud between the two establishments has officially begun. Susan sets out to find the culprit, and ... +


In the 1880's, as the Santa Fe rail line expands westward into the American frontier, Harvey House restaurants open one after another at train stops along the way. Hoping to find work at Harvey's newest restaurant in Sand Rock, New Mexico, young women from all over the country board trains for the small Western town. With few exceptions, most of the young women traveling to Sand Rock are going there to work for the Harvey House. Susan Bradley, however, is going there to meet H. H. Hartsey, an eloquent letter-writer whom she has never met, but has consented to marry. En route to Sand Rock, Susan befriends some of the waitresses. Soon after arriving in Sand Rock, Susan meets the rough hewn Hartsey, but they both immediately agree that they are mismatched and call off the wedding. When Hartsey tells Susan that his letters were written by Ned Trent, co-owner of the Alhambra Saloon, she marches over there and calls Ned a "yellow dog." Trent tries to make amends with Susan by offering to pay her way back to Ohio, but she refuses to take his money and promises to run him and his disreputable saloon out of town. Soon after taking a job at the Harvey House, Susan proves her resolve to get tough with the Alhambra when she bursts into the saloon with two six-shooters, and demands the return of meat stolen from the Harvey House. One night, when Alhambra men fire a shot into the Harvey Girls' dormitory, Susan and other waitresses declare that the feud between the two establishments has officially begun. Susan sets out to find the culprit, and at the Alhambra, she is confronted by Em, a sharp-witted, jealous barmaid who is in love with Ned. Susan later finds Ned alone in a remote valley, and the two spark a romance. They seal their love with a kiss and return to town, where Ned, hearing screams coming from the Harvey House, shoots a rattlesnake that was placed there by his nefarious business partner, Judge Sam Purvis. Ned warns Purvis to stop harassing the Harvey Girls, but when plans are announced to move the Alhambra to Flagstaff, Arizona, Purvis sets fire to the restaurant. The Harvey Girls lose their restaurant in the blaze but Ned sees to it that they are able to reopen it in the Alhambra saloon. As the employees of the Alhambra prepare to leave Sand Rock for Flagstaff, both Susan and Ned decide at the last minute to leave their work and start a new life together. In the confusion of the train station, however, Susan and Ned nearly miss each other. Em, who has a change of heart, reunites the couple by pulling the emergency brake cord to stop the train. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.