Babes in Arms (1939)

93 mins | Musical comedy | 13 October 1939

Director:

Busby Berkeley

Producer:

Arthur Freed

Cinematographer:

Ray June

Editor:

Frank Sullivan

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

In a montage in the first reel of the film, clips from the 1929 M-G-M musical Broadway Melody are shown. In these sequences, Robert Bradford dubs the singing voice of Charles E. King in the song "Broadway Melody," and Tex Brodus dubs the singing voice of Cliff Edwards in "Singing in the Rain." Scenes of Mickey Rooney as a young child, taken from earlier screen appearances, are included, indicating the passage of time from his babyhood to teenaged years. A pre-production news item in HR notes that Mervyn LeRoy was to replace Arthur Freed as solo producer and Freed was to be relegated to the role of associate producer. According to an early draft of SAB, Noel Langley and John Meehan were contributing writers, but the exact nature of their contribution is not known. This picture marked Busby Berkeley's debut as an M-G-M director. The film also marked actress June Preisser's screen debut. A news item in HR adds that M-G-M planned to groom actress Grace Hayes for Marie Dressler-type roles. Rooney was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor for his role in this film, but lost to Robert Donat for Goodbye Mr. Chips. Modern sources state that the ending of the film in which Rooney spoofs Franklin D. Roosevelt in the production number "God's Country" was removed in a 1948 reissue of the film and never restored. The viewed print, a current video release of the film, includes the spoof, however. In 1941, M-G-M produced the musical Babes on Broadway, which was also directed by Berkeley and starred Rooney and ...

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In a montage in the first reel of the film, clips from the 1929 M-G-M musical Broadway Melody are shown. In these sequences, Robert Bradford dubs the singing voice of Charles E. King in the song "Broadway Melody," and Tex Brodus dubs the singing voice of Cliff Edwards in "Singing in the Rain." Scenes of Mickey Rooney as a young child, taken from earlier screen appearances, are included, indicating the passage of time from his babyhood to teenaged years. A pre-production news item in HR notes that Mervyn LeRoy was to replace Arthur Freed as solo producer and Freed was to be relegated to the role of associate producer. According to an early draft of SAB, Noel Langley and John Meehan were contributing writers, but the exact nature of their contribution is not known. This picture marked Busby Berkeley's debut as an M-G-M director. The film also marked actress June Preisser's screen debut. A news item in HR adds that M-G-M planned to groom actress Grace Hayes for Marie Dressler-type roles. Rooney was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor for his role in this film, but lost to Robert Donat for Goodbye Mr. Chips. Modern sources state that the ending of the film in which Rooney spoofs Franklin D. Roosevelt in the production number "God's Country" was removed in a 1948 reissue of the film and never restored. The viewed print, a current video release of the film, includes the spoof, however. In 1941, M-G-M produced the musical Babes on Broadway, which was also directed by Berkeley and starred Rooney and Garland.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Sep 1939
p. 3
Film Daily
19 Sep 1939
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 1939
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 1939
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 1939
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 1939
pp. 6-7
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 1939
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
16 Seo 1939
p. 1
Motion Picture Daily
19 Sep 1939
p. 1, 18
Motion Picture Herald
23 Sep 1939
p. 45, 48
New York Times
20 Oct 1939
p. 27
Variety
20 Sep 1939
p. 15
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
William Ryan
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr to trmt
Contr to trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus dir
Orch arr
Orch arr
Mus adpt
SOUND
Rec dir
DANCE
Asst dance dir
STAND INS
Singing double for Charles King in "Broadway Melod
Tex Brodus
Singing double for Cliff Edwards in "Singing in th
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical Babes In Arms by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (New York, 14 Apr 1937).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHORS
SONGS
"The Lady Is a Tramp," "Babes in Arms" and "Where or When," music and lyrics by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers; "Good Morning" and "You Are My Lucky Star," music and lyrics by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed; "God's Country," music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg; "I Cried for You," music and lyrics by Arthur Freed, Gus Arnheim and Abe Lyman; "I'm Just Wild About Harry," music and lyrics by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake; "Ida," music and lyrics by Eddie Leonard; "My Day," composer undetermined.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 October 1939
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Houston, Tex: 15 Sep 1939
Production Date:
began 13 May 1939
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Loew's Inc.
15 September 1939
LP9144
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5477
SYNOPSIS

When vaudeville is eclipsed by the motion picture, Mickey Moran's parents, vaudeville troupers Joe and Florrie Moran, find bookings scarce. However, Mickey, who was born backstage at New York's Palace Theatre, remains undaunted and determines to write a show to be presented by the kids of the old vaudevillians in his hometown of Seaport, Long Island. In order to reach his goal, Mickey has to contend with many adversities, among which are the threats of Martha Steele, the head of the welfare board, who wants to send the youngsters to work school; the temperamental ego of Baby Rosalie Essex, the child star who is bankrolling the show; and the jealousy of Patsy Barton, his girl friend, who sees a rival in Baby Rosalie. Mickey manages to overcome all these problems, but is unable to control the weather when a hurricane washes away the show in mid-performance. Just when things look their blackest and Mrs. Steele is about to swoop the children off to work school, Mickey receives word that Harry Maddox, a New York producer, has decided to stage the show on ...

More Less

When vaudeville is eclipsed by the motion picture, Mickey Moran's parents, vaudeville troupers Joe and Florrie Moran, find bookings scarce. However, Mickey, who was born backstage at New York's Palace Theatre, remains undaunted and determines to write a show to be presented by the kids of the old vaudevillians in his hometown of Seaport, Long Island. In order to reach his goal, Mickey has to contend with many adversities, among which are the threats of Martha Steele, the head of the welfare board, who wants to send the youngsters to work school; the temperamental ego of Baby Rosalie Essex, the child star who is bankrolling the show; and the jealousy of Patsy Barton, his girl friend, who sees a rival in Baby Rosalie. Mickey manages to overcome all these problems, but is unable to control the weather when a hurricane washes away the show in mid-performance. Just when things look their blackest and Mrs. Steele is about to swoop the children off to work school, Mickey receives word that Harry Maddox, a New York producer, has decided to stage the show on Broadway.

Less

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.