Rare Musicals on TCM – August 2014

Summer Under the Stars is back! TCM’s annual celebration of classic Hollywood features a slew of entertaining pictures with some of the biggest and brightest names. Musical-wise, your best bets are to keep an eye on August 4 (Judy Garland), August 25 (Dick Powell), and August 30 (Betty Grable). But the whole months is full of wonderful treats!

MGM at 90: Gene Kelly

Few other performers can claim the title of “triple threat” so handily as Gene Kelly did with MGM in the 1940s and ’50s as an actor, a singer, and, of course, a dancer. But his career wasn’t limited to only those three titles; throughout the course of his professional life, he was also a producer, a director, a writer, a choreographer, and, all the while, an athlete. For a studio that claimed “more stars than there are in heaven,” Kelly was one of their brightest, an indelible association with the genre MGM took to new heights: the movie musical.

The Harvey Girls (1946)

While I’m never really expecting to see Judy Garland involved in a bar brawl, or threateningly brandishing a pistol in each hand, I really wasn’t expecting to see it happen in The Harvey Girls, a wholesome 1946 musical based on the true story of a restauranteur’s trainside western empire. But that’s what happened, and I’m glad it did—as little surprises like this were part of what made the film charming, if a little creaky, to behold.