In the Good Old Summertime (1949) Poster

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Certainly not the greatest of Judy Garland, but it's Judy Garland still.
mysticfall21 October 2013
I won't go into plot details, as it's been done by so many other reviewers before me. Instead, I'll just share my observations as a fan of classic musicals, and specifically of Judy Garland.

Personally, I think it was during 43-46 period when Judy looked and sounded the best. And incidentally, it was also the period when the classic MGM studio system was at the apex of its efficiency in churning out one great musical after another before its demise later in that decade.

In Good Old Summertime, one can't help but realize, with much regret, that the greatest period of the good old musical films and of Judy Garland was beginning to wane. And it is noticeable from quality of music scores and from changes in her appearance also.

Of course, it's still a very enjoyable movie, especially if you watched one of the other movies based on the same story. And Judy still looks amiable and sounds great even when she had to sing in such self-deprecating manner as in 'I Don't Care', which feels very different from other instances of similar comic approach of her previous films like 'When I Look at You' in Presenting Lily Mars, or 'Couple of Swells' from Easter Parade, for example.

Even though the movie is categorized as a musical, it's certainly not Harvey Girls where you can enjoy such trademark MGM scenes, like that big, complex sequence as 'Atchison Topika and the Santa Fe'.

Back then, the Freed Unit with so many talented actors and actresses were so efficient that they didn't need too many camera cuts or even extensive rehearsals to create a such captivating 20 min long sequence.

In Good Old Summertime, Judy Garland is almost the only person who sings, and there is no 'sequence' to talk of, as most of the numbers are done by her singing solo, except for the Barbershop Quartet and 'I Don't Care' numbers.

In general, songs are less memorable than those from her other movies. There's a Christmas song which Judy sings beautifully as usual, though it just isn't on par with 'Have Yourself a Merry Christmas' from Meet Me in St. Louis.

Judy still looks attractive, but not more so than in her earlier movies. Her personal troubles in real life begin to take their toll on her appearances by the time she appeared in this movie. Van Johnson is amiable, but he's certainly not her ideal partner in a musical film, as he can't really sing or dance like Mickey Rooney or Gene Kelly.

All in all, it's a still very enjoyable movie, but if you are a Judy Garland fan like me, you might want to try her other films first, preferably one from the 43-46 period, if you haven't seen them all already.

And when you have already seen most of them, and when you are sure to understand why people keep praising Judy Garland and her movies from her better days even today, then with a preparation of your mind for experiencing some regrets and pangs which might result from seeing her lesser self in a lesser kind of a musical, you are ready to enjoy this movie as a devote Judy Garland's fan.

It's something similar to what it requires to enjoy her late year recordings like the famous Carnegie Hall album. It pains to notice how she lost her range and her once impeccable vibrato became one that sounds artificial and forced.

But at least, it's Judy Garland and I believe that would suffice to enjoy it for most her ardent fans. As to what seems deficient, they can supplement it by their memories of what she has been in her prime time.
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"You Hold Her Hand And She Holds Your's"
bkoganbing21 December 2008
Given how Judy Garland scored so well in another period piece, Meet Me In St. Louis, it was a natural that she be cast in In The Good Old Summertime even if she was a replacement for June Allyson. It's called serendipity.

The film is a musical adaption of MGM's The Shop Around The Corner in which James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan played the anonymous correspondents who love what each other write, but can't stand each other in person. It doesn't help that the two of them are co-workers in a department store.

Van Johnson takes the Stewart part in In The Good Old Summertime and early 20th century Budapest is transferred to early 20th century Chicago. Johnson and Garland work in a music store with Spring Byington, Clinton Sundberg, and Buster Keaton and that's owned by S.Z. Sakall. Sakall is far more lovable as he always is than Frank Morgan in the same part in The Shop Around The Corner. A bit thick, but lovable. He does think he has talent on the violin, the same way Jack Benny did on his radio program. He plays it as well as Benny did and even playing it on a Stradivarius doesn't help.

Except for one new song, Merry Christmas, the rest of the score is interpolated period favorites like Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland, I Never Knew, I Don't Care and of course the title song. Judy is really in her element doing these numbers. In fact two of the early century's great musical performers, Blanche Ring who introduced In The Good Old Summertime, and Eva Tanguay whose specialty song was I Don't Care, were still alive to see Judy do both of their numbers for the current audience. I've often wondered what they must have thought.

Buster Keaton is strangely subdued in this film. He only gets one real comic moment doing a pratfall on a dance floor and breaking a violin in the process. I'm betting some of his material wound up on the cutting room floor.

At the very end of the film, little Liza Minnelli all of three at the time made her screen debut. If you like period pieces as I do and the music of the era as I do or if you liked The Shop Around The Corner or the most current adaption of the piece, You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, than you will appreciate and enjoy In The Good Old Summertime.

If you do like it, that's a very good sign.
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Judy Garland and Van Johnson are delightful together in this comedic romp!
Marie-6220 January 2002
You've got to admit, Judy Garland never looked prettier or acted funnier than she did in this movie. The plot line is simple yet complicated: Boy and girl write to each other. They fall in love. They meet, not knowing that the other is really their pen pal. They hate each other. Boy figures it out. Boy falls for girl. Girl falls for boy. You can only guess the ending. They made a re-make with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, now known as "You've Got Mail." It was one of my favorites and when I found out that Judy Garland was in the second movie based on the story, I had to have it! I'm so glad that I bought it. I love this movie. The songs "I Don't Care" and "Barbershop Chord" are ADORABLE! I suggest that anyone who likes Judy Garland or a good old fashioned movie. Definitely one of her best!
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In the Good Cold Summertime...
laffinsal12 March 2005
Funny that a movie which has 'Summertime" in its title spends most of its duration in the Winter. No matter, this is a charming and quaint musical from MGM. Judy and Van are anonymous pen pals, who also happen to work together, each of them not knowing the other is their mystery 'friend'.

It's a little disconcerting watching Judy Garland, as lively as ever, in her second to last MGM musical from the studio's classic period. It's unfortunate she was dropped a couple years later, because even in this minor film, she is wonderful, using her talents to better the story with her cinematic personality and melodic singing. She had a gift for comedy and a talent for drama as well.

Van Johnson, in one of his few memorable musical film roles, is good as Judy's counterpart. His role seems more like a character Gene Kelly would have played, a bit of a 'smart Alec'. I think if Kelly were cast instead, there would have been more of a balance in this film, because as it is, much of the singing in this film comes from Judy...she really is the only singer in the whole cast. The songs, themselves, are period pieces which are pleasant enough. Aside from the title tune, there is the "Dreamland" number, which is nice, Judy's rousing "I Don't Care", and her amusing song with the Barbershop Quartet. The other actors in the cast are also good. Buster Keaton has a funny, but modest role as a shop worker, along with Spring Byington and S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall, as the shop owner.

Overall, a pleasant film. Not quite what I would think of as a musical, as the songs are modest filler, not showstoppers. This is not on par with "On the Town" or "The Pirate", but it is enjoyable enough. Good costumes, charming sets, and lovely Technicolor contribute to the look of an antique hand-colored postcard. In that sense, it's something of a curio; amusing, but not quite a gem.
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A Pleasant Version of the Story Idea
Snow Leopard19 August 2004
This pleasant version of the romance-by-correspondence story is worth seeing for the good cast and for the musical additions. This kind of light story depends heavily on the leads, and they do well here. "The Shop Around the Corner" is still the best version, due in large part to Jimmy Stewart and the rest of a fine cast. The 1990's remake was watchable because of the two sympathetic lead performers, but otherwise its script and direction weighed it down with too much extraneous material. Setting aside comparisons, "In the Good Old Summertime" in itself is enjoyable and is generally well-crafted.

This adaptation makes good use of Judy Garland's talents, and she in turn delivers a fine performance. Van Johnson is agreeable, if sometimes a bit bland, as the leading man. The rest of the cast is good as well, and although Buster Keaton does not get a lot to do, it's still great to see him in the cast. The story in itself is fairly thin, but it has a light, good-natured atmosphere and some lively material. The settings are believable, and they go along well with the story. There's easily enough to make "In the Good Old Summertime" worth seeing.
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Boba_Fett113828 March 2005
What a charming, little, easy to watch movie this was.

Nothing great, nothing heavy or new but simply just great easy entertainment with great performances from Judy Garland, Van Johnson and Buster Keaton in a small but fun role and apparently also Liza Minnelli in an even smaller, and her first role.

The story is simple but charming and effective. It's an early version (but not the earliest) of "You've Got Mail". It's not really a musical, just merely a movie that just happen to have some songs in it. The songs are nothing spectacular like you would expect when you hear the word 'musical'. So, if you don't like musical movies this movie might still be very well worth your time as well.

Don't let the year it was made in scare you of. This is a movie that doesn't ever get outdated, mainly thanks to its fun and easy to watch, kind of atmosphere.

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A real treat for Garland fans
funkyfry15 October 2002
Pleasant atmosphere and songs fill out this cozy situational period piece. Garland seems at ease and Johnson pulls it off -- they play co-workers who despise each other at work, but are secretly in love as correspondents through the mail. Similar to "Meet Me in St. Louis", without its excellence in story and character, but with much of the same studio-concocted charm. Keaton does a few falls, making the best of his last MGM film.
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Conventional, But Beautifully Done
gftbiloxi16 May 2005
This story of two co-workers who loathe each other--and then perversely fall in love when they correspond anonymously through a lonelyhearts club--has been filmed three times, first in the 1930s as THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER with stars James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan and most recently in the 1990s as YOU'VE GOT MAIL with stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. This 1940s musical version, which sets the story in an early 1900s Chicago music shop, stars Judy Garland and Van Johnson.

Although the score is not in the least memorable, Garland is in fine voice, and although they lack any real chemistry she and Van Johnson play well together. More appealing is a romantic subplot concerning shop owner S.Z. Sakall and his long time ladyfriend Spring Byington, who are extremely charming in their roles and quite a bit of fun to watch. Fans of Buster Keaton will also enjoy seeing him in a small cameo role, and film buffs will be delighted to see Garland's daughter Liza Minnelli make her film debut in the movie's closing moments.

Although there is a great deal to enjoy here, the material is highly conventional, and the project would have benefited from a more gifted directorial vision. A quality product with remarkable stars--don't expect too much and you'll enjoy it quite a bit.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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Wonderful musical remake of "The Shop Around the Corner"...
Doylenf31 May 2001
First came "The Shop Around the Corner" with James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. Then "In the Good Old Summertime" with Judy Garland and Van Johnson, a musical remake. Then "She Loves Me", the Broadway musical with Barbara Cook and Daniel Massey based on the earlier version. Then "You've Got Mail" with Tom Hanks, which by no means was an original story idea but an update of all three previous versions.

MGM must have been in an inspired mood when they made this one, with Judy and Van at their best, both playing off each other with great charm and humor. Judy even gets to warble a few wonderful songs ("I Don't Care", "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland", "Play That Barbershop Chord") aside from showing her gift for romantic comedy. The delightful supporting players are Spring Byington, S.Z. Sakall, Buster Keaton and Clinton Sundberg.

Garland is a music store clerk corresponding with her unseen pen pal (Van Johnson) who also happens to be her boss. The happy ending features Judy's daughter, Liza, taking her first stroll before the cameras at 2 or so.

One of those rare remakes that actually improves upon the original and manages to be just as charming with the addition of music. One of Judy's best--a complete delight. Too bad she and Van Johnson weren't teamed more often.
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Just OK
iamyuno223 December 2013
Great cast but there wasn't the chemistry or magic of the movie it's based on, The Shop Around The Corner. And somehow, though each of the stars had shone brightly in other movies, they somehow seem uncomfortable in this one and are not seen at their best. It's hard remaking a great film and while they stole some of the lines directly from the first movie, they chose to diverge from the original in ways that watered down the story's effect. Somehow you don't care as much about any of these characters as much as you cared about all of the characters in the original - short of Vadas (whose character is not represented in this film as some others from the original are). Suffers, too, from its being made into a musical - too much the typical Judy Garland film where music doesn't always have a reason to be in a's just done to play to Judy's talents - not always a good move for a movie's integrity. Here, the plot gets lost in the stereotypical scenes where Judy is supposed to show off her talents. Judy Garland fans will enjoy this film, however, because here she seems truly happy and is at the peak of her singing talents. Perhaps if I weren't such a big fan of the original, I'd have liked this more. But, sorry, I found it a bit boring in comparison.
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A brilliant adaptation of a previous play and film.
ewc25 March 2000
This is assuredly one of the best adaptation/sequels to a major movie ever designed. The original Raphaelson/Lubitsch version, SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, was wonderful, but the idea to change it into a musical (a vehicle for Garland and Johnson), the changes made to do so and the casting are extraordinary. One musical number with Garland and a quartette is dated, but is immediately followed by another with her solo that is a trademark performance (and knowledgeable viewers will marvel, here and in the scene where Garland enters the house to tell her 'aunt' of the disasterious occurence at the restaurant, at how much Garland looks like her daughter, Lisa Minnelli, will look in later years - and Minnelli, 18-months-old, appears here in her screen debut in the final scene as Garland's daughter!). One can count on one hand the number of times that a successful adaptation has been made of a previously successful film, and this one goes to the top of my list!
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See it for Judy but the original is superior
jjnxn-110 May 2013
Quaint would really be the best way to describe this. Mild but colorful reworking of The Shop Around the Corner trades that films exquisite pathos for a sunny tone and loses something in translation but is miles ahead of the travesty that is You've Got Mail. The musical score is full of charming songs from the period socked across by the great Judy although she seems terribly jittery here. Of all her films this is the one where her resemblance to Liza Minnelli is the strongest so it seems fitting that Liza plays her daughter in a bit at the end. As for the rest of the cast, Spring Byington and Cuddles Sakall are cute and well matched in a much more gentle version of the shop keeper and his wife than the original film, but Buster Keaton is almost totally wasted in a small part.
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Unnecessary Remake, But Enjoyable on Its Own Terms
evanston_dad29 December 2008
This affable film is a musical remake of Ernst Lubitsch's 1940 classic "The Shop Around the Corner." Though actually it's not so much a musical as it is a movie with some songs added, nearly all of them performed by Judy Garland, who happens to be the best reason for seeing this movie at all.

Lubitsch's film is, of course, perfect in every way and needed no remaking, but if someone had to remake it, they could have done a worse job than this. Garland is delightful in the role originated by Margaret Sullavan, and Van Johnson makes a surprisingly strong stand-in for James Stewart (and even sounds remarkably like him at times). Instead of a curio shop, the action takes place in a music store, which provides more opportunities for spontaneous singing. This film is nowhere near as dark as the original, and one of the best parts of the Lubitsch version, the subplot involving the store's owner, is pretty much written right out of this version.

The title doesn't make a lick of sense, since nearly the entire film is set during Christmas. I guess "In the Good Old Wintertime" didn't have the same ring to it.

Grade: A-
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Lazslo's Valentine Now Put Back into 1890s America
theowinthrop24 December 2005
In 1940 Ernst Lubitsch had done a film called THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, based on the play PERFUMERIE by Miklos Lazslo. The comedy about two fellow employees in a store who fight all the time, and don't realize that the pen-pal they have grown to love is the same person opposite them became a film classic, and would be the first of many versions. The second version was this 1949 film, which would also be the first musical version (the second was the Broadway musical by Kander and Ebb SHE LOVES ME). Instead of Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan, Frank Morgan, Felix Bressart, and Joseph Schildkraut, this film would have Van Johnson, Judy Garland, S. Z. Sakall, Clinton Sundberg, and Buster Keaton.

But there are differences between the two films in setting and plot. Mr. Matuschek is driven into a depression (misdirected at his favorite, Kralek) due to awareness that his wife is having an affair with an employee. Here Sakall plays Mr. Obenkugen, who owns a music store (not a leather goods shop), and who is not married. He is in love with his secretary Nellie (Spring Byington), and plans to marry her. Joseph Schildkraut was the villain in THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER as Ferencz Vadas. Buster Keaton is not villainous, but just clumsy. He does fill in as a technical rival to Johnson for Garland, but this is never fully developed in the plot (one wonders if scenes were shot that were cut involving Buster "dating" Judy). Judy also notes that there is another young lady in Johnson's life - Louise Parkson, a gifted violinist (Marcia Van Dyke). No such character is in THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER.

But the basic situations of the former film's plot, and their resolutions, are the same. The flavor of the "gay '90s" is found throughout the film, in the choice of the music used (not only the title song, but such tunes as "I Don't Care!") and in the atmosphere of mid-western America with its barbershop quartets and singing waiters, and it's pretensions to culture (the business with Sakall's prized Stradavarius violin).

There is only one final, charming addition at the conclusion that is not in the first film - Margaret Sullivan's daughter did not make a special appearance at the conclusion as her child by Stewart. But Liza Minelli did make her first appearance here as Garland's child by Johnson. It was the only film the mother and daughter ever made together.
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a wonderful musical that's actually better than the original
MartinHafer9 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Back in 1940, Ernst Lubitsch directed the excellent film The Shop Around the Corner. Lubitsch is rightfully famous for his wonderful films, but somehow In the Good Old Summertime exceeds the original. This is rather surprising for me to admit, as I generally am not a big fan of musicals. However, the music never dominates the film, the supporting cast is GREAT (Cuddles Sakall, Spring Byington and Buster Keaton) and the mood of the picture is not as depressing and dark as Lubitsch's.

The plot is this: Van Johnson has a pen pal with whom he carries on long and philosophical discussions--and eventually, the letters result in him falling head over heels for this mystery woman. Judy Garland stumbles into the music store where Johnson works and is hired by the owner (Sakall). Almost immediately, Garland and Johnson can't stand each other even though unknown to them, they are each other's pen pal! It may sound a little far-fetched, but it somehow manages to work.

PS--this was recently made into the less stellar You've Got Mail. I wasn't as enamored with this re-make, as having BOTH characters emotionally and sexually involved with others during their correspondence seemed a little sleazy.
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The best part is "I Don't Care"
HotToastyRag21 June 2018
The first remake of the adorable love story The Shop Around the Corner was made into a musical with Judy Garland and Van Johnson. It's a much lighter film than the 1940 version, with S.Z Sakall as the amiable shop owner, replacing Frank Morgan's dark, depressive role in the original. As far as remakes go, I like the modern You've Got Mail better. The 1949 version, while skipping the serious realism in the dramatic elements, also misses most of the story's charm as it turns into a mediocre 1940s musical for Judy Garland.

Judy and Van don't get off to a very good start, and while they spend the entire movie bickering with each other at work, after-hours they're unknowingly involved with each other through letters. Will the two paths ever cross? It's a very cute story, but with Judy's pouting and signature "Dorothy Gale" temper and Van's conceit, neither lead is really likable. And while in the original, James Stewart and Felix Bressart have darling interactions about his pen-pal relationship, Van and Clinton Sundberg make their scenes fall flat. Buster Keaton is included in the supporting cast, but I can never get enough of him, so the few scenes he has aren't really enough. Why couldn't he have had Clinton's part?

The famous song "I Don't Care" holds a special place in my heart. My older brother-and older brothers aren't normally known for their awareness of Judy Garland movies-actually remembers this song from when I compiled a Judy Garland film montage in high school. To him, Judy's most famous moment in screen history is waving her arounds around in a red dress singing "I Don't Care". So, when you watch that song, think of my brother!
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Chicago on the Danube
jhkp9 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This was Judy Garland's next-to-last film at MGM, and in fact, one of her last films; though she lived another 20 years, she made only about 5 more movies, concentrating more on concerts and TV.

Unlike many of Judy's earlier MGM pictures, this was not an Arthur Freed production. Joe Pasternak was the producer, and he had a different sensibility. His films were more sentimental as a rule, and often featured classical music. I guess that's why a part was written in for Marcia Van Dyke, a young and beautiful classical violinist who was getting attention at the time (including a Life magazine cover). She's lovely, and an excellent musician. She also seems to have had her entire part overdubbed in post-production (listen carefully and you'll notice it). Whether she herself re-did her own dialogue or another actress was brought in, I don't know.

Van Johnson plays the part of the head clerk that was originally played by James Stewart in The Shop Around The Corner (1940). In the earlier film, the character is called "Kralik." In this version (set in turn of the century Chicago, rather than modern Budapest), the character is called "Larkin" - which is almost an anagram of Kralik.

Much of the more dramatic or downbeat aspects of the earlier film (a suicide attempt by the shop owner) have been sanitized for this musical. While the relationship of the two clerks (who work together and can't stand each other, not realizing they're also anonymous pen-pals) is basically unchanged, in this version, the relationship of the head clerk and the boss is less compelling because much of the heavier aspects have been lightened or removed.

Overall it's a very enjoyable movie, perhaps lightened up a bit too much, plot-wise. In this version, the major concern is that Van Johnson lent his violinist neighbor his boss's Stradivarius, and the boss might find out.

The cast, though, is excellent; the leads are perfect and Judy sings some old classics from the time period the film is set. She's a wonderful actress, too.
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A disappointment
richard-178725 May 2017
I suppose the only fair way to review this movie is to watch it first without having already seen The Little Shop Around the Corner. I can't do that, however, and it leaves me comparing the two, which is never to Summertime's advantage.

On the one hand, I don't like some of the things that were added, like Van Johnson's strange relationship with the violinist.

On the other, when Summertime repeats Shop, sometimes with virtually the same dialogue, I'm disappointed that Van Johnson doesn't do the lines as well as James Stewart. And Sakall doesn't give the store owner the depth that Frank Morgan did in Shop.

Yes, there are musical numbers here, but they aren't very interesting, though Garland gives her all to bring them off.

In short, this is probably a pleasant movie for those who don't know Shop. For those who do, it's a series of disappointments.
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A wonderful movie set at Christmas, despite the odd title.
NativeTexan16 February 2003
Judy and Van have wonderful, even smoldering but innocent chemistry in this musical adaptation of Shop Around the Corner. Their unwilling attraction to each other is obvious and completely believable, unlike the James Stewart/Margaret Sullavan pairing, in which it is completely null and void.

Every actor is superb: Cuddles Sakall, Spring Byington, Clinton Sundberg, and the legendary Buster Keaton. What a cast!

This is a great movie, and the ending is better, funnier, and more satisfying than its predecessor.
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A good rendition of the first version and the middle sister of You've Got Mail
moviegal-106 October 1999
In order to really appreciate this movie, you must see the first version of this movie which would later be remade as You've Got Mail. Personally I think the first version "The Shop Around the Corner" (1940) is where the writer of You've Got Mail based there plot on, where as In The Good Old Summertime places a bit of a twist on the story, but still remains true to the original. I love all three versions (and own all), but I would choose this particular one over all of the rest. A real gem of a movie...check it out!
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Fun little musical
JohnSeal11 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not much of a fan of musicals, but In the Good Old Summertime made a rare big screen appearance this evening at Oakland's Paramount Theatre, America's most beautiful art deco movie palace. As it turns out, the film is quite enjoyable: the script is well written and the cast is engaging. The only drawbacks are the less than memorable songs, including one of the worst Christmas ditties you'll ever hear, and the somewhat inappropriate title: most of the story takes place during the winter months! Castwise, Van Johnson and Judy Garland make a marvelous screen couple and Judy does her best with the meagre tunes. The film also benefits from a surprisingly large role for Buster Keaton, who even gets to show off his still unsurpassed physical comedy skills in a few all too brief scenes. This is a typically glossy MGM production and will surely please all fans of the lead actors. If you get a chance to see it in a cinema, note that the print utilized by the Paramount appears to have been newly struck and looks gorgeous.
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'I Don't Care' if I never see this mediocre remake again
Death_to_Pan_and_Scan15 January 2008
One can only assume that Robert Osborne is contractually obligated to express delight at even the least appealing films in the TCM library as this would explain him extolling the 'virtues' of this "charming" film during his introduction when I saw this on cable TV. Seeing as any old film on IMDb receives 'classic' status from a number of fawning amateur reviewers, I thought there was a dire need for a more honest review of this film.

This is not your father's 'Shop Around the Corner'. For all my quibbles with 'You've Got Mail', it still outshines this as a remake in just about every way imaginable. For those who have seen the original, the flaws will only be all the more obvious.

From one of the lamest Meet Cute sequences I can recall seeing (a sad slapstick attempt at 'humor'), this film gets off on the wrong foot and it never really gets back in step. This 'musical' only qualifies as one in the sparsest sense of the term. There are a sprinkling of instantly forgettable musical numbers and then there's Judy singing "I Don't Care" while flailing her arms around as if in a seizure. The Christmas song she sings in the store is probably one of her better numbers here. Miss Garland was wonderful in a number of musical films, but here she seems horribly miscast. The role was originally to have been filled by June Allyson and Judy is definitely unable to fill the shoes of Margaret Sullavan's old part. Van Johnson also turns in a rather bland performance as a second rate Jimmy Stewart type. The leads never achieve the chemistry of Stewart/Sullavan or even that of Hanks/Ryan.

This is a film that knows (some of) the notes, but not the music. It doesn't really seem to understand why the original worked and even feels the need to add another possible love interest for Van Johnson's character to complicate things unnecessarily. The remake's substitution for the original's infidelity subplot is a hackneyed plot device involving a priceless violin. It is almost embarrassing to watch and feels as if it had perhaps been lifted from an episode of Three's Company by someone with a DeLorean and a flux capacitor. It's really just an excuse for a Keaton pratfall. Even the big resolution scene between the romantic leads is mishandled. After seeing both films, you'll understand why they called it 'the Lubitsch Touch' and NOT the 'Robert Z. Leonard Touch'.

Avoid this and rewatch either the original film or one of Judy Garland's earlier films unless you're an iconoclast who enjoys seeing a once great star falling down to earth.
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This is one of my favorites, and I'm a connoisseur
mollie8413 September 2004
I watched this movie last night and just want to say, it's so adorable! I would also recommend this movie's predecessor, The Shop Around The Corner, which is also simply wonderful. I couldn't say which I love more; one is a Jimmy Stewart movie (love him!), and one is a Judy Garland musical with Van Johnson...How can you choose? they're different! And I won't even get started on You've Got Mail. :) What a great story wonder it's been used three times!

(In response to an above comment, an interesting bit of trivia about The Shop Around The Corner: Jimmy Stewart was in love with Margaret Sullivan at the time they made the movie.)
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My favorite Judy Garland movie
alphaleonis16 January 2004
This is my favorite Judy Garland movie, though my wife likes Meet Me In St. Louis better. I also like this movie better than the other two variations of the story, though they are all good. This is one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time. Love Judy, love Cuddles, love Van. Liked this ending better than the other two movies on this storyline.
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Judy All the Way
harry-7614 December 2003
The public relations poster for her 1961 Carnegie Hall concert listed her as "The World's Greatest Entertainer."

That was quite a claim, but not original--Jolson had already used it years before. Still, Garland walked onto the Carnegie stage at about 8:50 p.m. on April 23 and lived up to her advance p/r. I had the privilege of being present that evening and admit it can rightfully be called one of the all-time great pop concerts.

In this early film, "In the Good Old Summertime," Judy shows she's not only a fine singer but also a marvelous comedienne and dramatic actress. On top of her meddle, her work seems effortless, charming and disarming.

She's paired here beautifully with Van Johnson and the rest of the cast, mesmerizing the viewer with her naturalism and phenomenal appeal. Her vocal quality is devoid of the more belting style she would later employ, still she demonstrates she can slam the big notes out when they're called for (as in "I Don't Care").

Her rendition of the ballads, "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland" and "Merry Christmas" are lyrical and smooth, making touching statements.

While the script itself turns out to be a bit less that remarkable, it's still a nice adaptation of previously filmed source material. "In the Good Old Summertime" goes down as a great showcase for Judy--one which promises to increase in both appreciation and value as time goes on.
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