The Harvey Girls (1946)



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Movie Info

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.

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Judy Garland
as Susan Bradley
John Hodiak
as Ned Trent
Ray Bolger
as Chris Maule
Preston S. Foster
as Judge Sam Purvis
Marjorie Main
as Sonora Cassidy
Chill Wills
as H.H. Hartsey
Kenny Baker
as Terry O'Halloran
Selena Royle
as Miss Bliss
Cyd Charisse
as Deborah
Jack Lambert
as Marty Peters
Edward Earle
as Jed Adams
Horace McNally
as Goldust McClean
Morris Ankrum
as Rev. Claggett
Ben Carter
as John Henry
Stephen McNally
as Goldust McClean
Bill Hall
as Big Joe
Ray Teal
as Conductor
Gloria Hope
as Harvey Girl
Vernon Dent
as Engineer
Jim Toney
as Mule Skinner
Dorothy Gilmore
as Harvey Girl
Lucille Casey
as Harvey Girl
Mary Jo Ellis
as Harvey Girl
Mary Jane French
as Harvey Girl
Joan Thorson
as Harvey Girl
Jacqueline White
as Harvey Girl
Daphne Moore
as Harvey Girl
Vera Lee
as Dance Hall Girl
Dorothy Van Nuys
as Dance Hall Girl
Eve Whitney
as Dance Hall Girl
Jane Hall
as Dance Hall Girl
Bunny Waters
as Dance Hall Girl
Hazel Brooks
as Dance Hall Girl
Erin O'Kelly
as Dance Hall Girl
Peggy Maley
as Dance Hall Girl
Kay English
as Dance Hall Girl
Dallas Worth
as Dance Hall Girl
Byron Harvey Jr.
as Train Conductor
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Critic Reviews for The Harvey Girls

All Critics (9)

A lively MGM Western musical.

Jul 19, 2017 | Rating: B | Full Review…

George Sidney's musical western is a joyous, fictionalized tribute to the New England femmes who went out West to bring culture and food; best song is On the Atchison, Topeka, Santa Fe, which won an Oscar.

Apr 22, 2012 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Though this creaky musical hasn't aged well, its peak moments are delightful: Dorothy and her Scarecrow reunited, "On the Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe" and Garland's gift for physical comedy.

Aug 12, 2011 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Not quite top line Garland, but very much fun with a good score.

May 25, 2006 | Rating: 4/5

Perhaps not a musical for the ages, but a larkish and exuberant joy all the same.

Aug 15, 2003 | Rating: 4/5

One classic song does not a good musical make

Nov 5, 2002 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for The Harvey Girls


Glossy Hollywood musical where cowboys and waitresses wear Technicolor outfits that look like they rarely encounter dust. The great performances and musical numbers carry you away to this imaginary place for a couple hours of enjoyable entertainment though. Ray Bolger and Judy Garland re-team, though they don't share many scenes. Bolger provides comic relief, but especially captures the screen with his trademark style of dance. Garland commits to film more tunes that she enlivens with her unique voice and ability to add sensitivity.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer


A fun, but predictable musical comedy.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


Even lower case Judy is better then most and this has a young Angela Lansbury as well

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

My love of life, JUDY!

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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