The Harvey Girls Reviews
THE ATCHISON-TOPEKA AND SANTA FE is the well known song. Everything else seems to have rightfully been forgotten due to the passage of time...
Too bad, because there really is a good cast here. Judy Garland is always ON no matter what song she sings. Here she is reunited with her WIZARD OF OZ costar, Ray Bolger - who I think is the best comic dancer of his time. His goofy dance in this one is reminiscent of his great number from THE GREAT ZIEGFELD. There is a young Cyd Charisse who does a nice balletic piece which makes her petticoats spin. Angela Lansbury is gorgeous here too and she does a nice (but all too brief) sexy french can-can number (although her singing voice is dubbed). Yet everything seems a bit flat. Missing that certain OOMPH. Lackluster - that's the word.
Judy Garland is a mail-order bride headed west to meet her husband-to-be. When she finally meets her husband-to-be... well she backs out. I suppose you would too if you found out it was gonna be Chill Wills! Anyway, there is a side plot regarding Judy falling in love with another most unlikely character. Not sure if it really works since it plays against her character.
There is one scene that had me flinching. Not because of the singing. It was during Virginia O'Brien's number THE WILD, WILD, WEST. She is showing Ray Bolger how to shoe a horse. She hammer's a glowing hot horseshoe on an anvil making sparks fly. She leaves the horseshoe on the anvil for a bit...but returns and actually picks up the red hot horseshoe with her bare hands (as I twist in my chair). She continues singing her song nonchalantly...caressing the glowing horseshoe with her fingers. Yeah it's fake - but it sure did have me fooled for a moment. Jeez Louise.
So what is a HARVEY GIRL? Well, during the railroads expansion westward in the late 1800's - there came a need for places for passengers to eat. An entrepreneur named Fred Harvey made a deal with the railroads and set up the first known chain restaurants in the USA named HARVEY HOUSE. Harvey had strict standards for quality and excellent service. The uniformed waitresses who worked there became known as Harvey Girls. Thank you GOOGLE. So now you know too.
5.5 / 10