"Babes on Broadway"
The most disappointing part about this film is that it looked as if it might mildly promising in a Sunday afternoon sort of a way. Mickey Rooney has his admires. He has, in the past, fulfilled a certain valuable function in glorifying the American family as Andy Hardy. My mother wouldn't throw his autograph into the waste basket, if he sent it to her. And Judy Garland has a very nice voice. We are merely trying to prove that it wasn't entirely our fault for going to the movie in the first place.
Once we were there, the plot turned out to be one of those arbitrary scenic ramblings that spends most of its time trying to weave its way into a musical. It had to let Andy Rooney be boys-must-be-boyish and let Judy Garland sing. So Rooney, having failed to crash the New York theatrical world, and having met Judy in the process, decides to combine all the unheeded young talent in the city, get a city block from somewhere, give a tremendous musical, and gain fame, fortune, and Judy at the same time. We really couldn't say how it ends. We left in the middle of the city block scene, while Judy was singing a rousing spine-tingler that went, "Keep your chin up, Tommy Atkins, Cheerio, Carry on . . ." to the tune of "You Can Win Winsocki."
The real criticism is that everything in the picture is an excuse for something else that doesn't quite happen. The director spends half an hour of action and dialogue working up to a point where he can get Judy Garland seated at a piano and Mickey Rooney saying. "Oh, even if you can't, let me hear you just for the fun of it," and then she is forced to warble a flock of notes that the Hollywood songwriters bunched together between floor shows at the Brown Derby. Virginia Wilder doesn't help. Well, there is no use in going into gruesome details. Just take our advice and speed next Sunday afternoon listening to the symphony.