Go West, Judy, Go West!

At the height of her musical powers, Judy Garland brings a Broadway sensibility to the Wild, Wild West in The Harvey Girls.

The Harvey Girls is a Hollywood original, but it feels like a Broadway musical brought to the big screen. Director George Sidney was an accomplished creator of some of the finest American movie musicals -- Show Boat, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate and Pal Joey. But it is the pairing of Judy Garland and her onscreen rival Angela Lansbury that gives the film its crackling energy.

The studios tagline for the film was, "MGMs Gay and Lusty Musical Romance!" And MGM adds this description to the release of The Harvey Girls on DVD: "When Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury ("Murder She Wrote") head out West, the fur flies and the fun begins. Here's a big, bustling musical extravaganza the way they used to make 'em, brimming with period charm. The Harvey Girls also boasts a hummable score by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren, including 'It's a Great Big World', 'Oh, You Kid', and the Oscar-winning 'On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.'"

"At the turn of the Century, Fred Harvey's hotels and restaurants were the epitome of American elegance. When winsome Susan Bradley (Garland) discovers that the chain needs waitresses for their new place along the tracks of the Santa Fe railroad, she eagerly answers the call of 'Go West, Young Woman!'"

"The sparkling supporting cast features Ray Bolger (The Wizard of Oz), Cyd Charisse, Chill Wills, Marjorie Main (Ma and Pa Kettle) and Preston Foster. The Harvey Girls serves up a sprightly, rollicking banquet with the talented Judy Garland at her singing, dancing, romancing best!

Showtime: 6 p.m., Tuesday, August 21, Central Library. Check out the original theater trailer for The Harvey Girls here.

Full Fresh City Life schedule of events and workshops here.

Written by Chris on August 20, 2012


Sara M. on August 21, 2012


I loved seeing this movie after visiting the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and hearing about the Harvey Girls. The library owns the book The Harvey Girls by Lesley Poling-Kempes which is an interesting account of the young women who headed west to work in this first restaurant/lodging chain. Thanks for reminding me that it's time to see it again.


Thanks Sara! We're looking forward to showing it on our big screen. And the library owns this on dvd, too.

Laureen on August 23, 2012


HI Chris,

Maggie Miller suggested we get in touch with you about a possible collaboration.

We run a community organization called Trade School Denver, whose mission is: swapping skills, making community. We offer free class every other Thursday night on a variety of topics (tonight is pie making, then ultimate frisbee, and then closing up your garden for the winter). We recently did an event with the Denver Art Museum that was a great success and a lot of fun.

Would you have time to meet with us and discuss any possibilities?

Thanks so much for your time,
Laureen & Andrea

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