|Directed by||George Sidney|
|Written by|| Paul Jarrico |
|Produced by||Joe Pasternak|
|Starring|| Kathryn Grayson |
|Cinematography||George J. Folsey|
|Edited by||George Boemler|
|Music by|| Irving Berlin |
Nacio Herb Brown
|Distributed by||Loew's, Inc.|
Thousands Cheer is a 1943 American musical comedy film directed by George Sidney and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Produced at the height of the Second World War, the film was intended as a morale booster for American troops and their families.
The film is essentially a two-part program. The first half consists of a romantic comedy storyline involving an aerialist, played by Gene Kelly, who is drafted into the US Army but really wants to join the Air Force. During training, he falls in love with Kathryn (played by Kathryn Grayson), the daughter of his commanding officer, who has similarly put her singing career on hold in order to serve by providing entertainment for the troops. Unusually for this type of a film (and for this era of Hollywood), the character Kathryn has only recently met her father for the first time since she was a baby, her parents having divorced. A related subplot has Kathryn conniving to get her parents (played by John Boles and Mary Astor) to reconcile. During the first part of the film, Grayson sings several numbers and Kelly performs one of his most famous routines, dancing with a mop as a partner.
The secondary plot involves preparations for a major live show for the soldiers which will feature many MGM musical and comedy stars. For the second half of the film, all pretenses of a storyline are effectively abandoned as the film instead becomes a variety showcase of comedy, song, and dance, with all of the performers (save Kelly and Grayson) appearing as themselves. The show portion is hosted by Mickey Rooney.
Performing as "guest stars" in the film's show segment were: Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Red Skelton, Ann Sothern, Lucille Ball, Frank Morgan, Virginia O'Brien, Eleanor Powell, Marilyn Maxwell, June Allyson, Gloria DeHaven, Donna Reed, Margaret O'Brien, the Kay Kyser Orchestra and others. Pianist-conductor José Iturbi appears as himself in both segments of the film; this was his first acting role in a film and he would go on to make several more appearances (usually playing himself) in MGM musicals.
Highlights included a performance of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" by Kelly and a mop, "Honeysuckle Rose" by Horne and Benny Carter's band, a tap dance solo by Powell (making her first color film and her final MGM movie until 1950's Duchess of Idaho ), Kay Kyser's band delivering a frantic and humorous medley of "I Dug a Ditch in Wichita"/"Should I?", and a Garland performance (with classical pianist Jose Iturbi) of Roger Edens' "The Joint is Really Jumpin' in Carnegie Hall" which includes an early use of the word "rock" in a musical sense. In the phone scene with Grayson, Iturbi performs an excerpt from Franz Liszt's Rhapsodie #11.
"I Dug a Ditch in Wichita", a song told from the point of view of a soldier who used to dig ditches, is the movie's underlying theme song, performed several times in the film with different arrangements and approaches, climaxing in the above-mentioned Kay Kyser performance which runs four and a half minutes and showcases several of his featured performers and including a few verses of another song, "Would I?". Grayson also sings a version, using an exaggerated (and out-of-character) "cowboy" accent, and Kelly dances to an instrumental version, using a mop as a partner.
After a brief resumption (and resolution) of the earlier storyline, the film ends with Grayson leading an international chorus of men (the United Nations Chorus) in a song pleading for world peace. The song, entitled "United Nations on the March", actually predates the establishment of the United Nations political body by two years, but not the Declaration by United Nations which was made on 1 January 1942. The song used music by Dmitri Shostakovich from his famous "Song of the Counterplan" (the title song for the 1932 movie Counterplan), but an English-language text had nothing to do with the original Russian lyrics. Due to misinterpretation of the name of the song's American version, some popular Russian media (e.g. Lenta.ru) reported that Shostakovich composed "the official UN Anthem".
According to MGM records the film earned $3,751,000 in the US and Canada and $2,135,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $2,228,000.
The New York Times : "a veritable grab-bag of delights. Musically there is something for all tastes, from Jose Iturbi to boogie-woogie, from Kathryn Grayson and Sempra Libera to Judy Garland and The Joint is Really Jumping!. It would have been easy for Metro's labour to result in a top-heavy production under a less resourceful producer than Joe Pasternak. His steadying hand is quite evident."
The New York Herald Tribune : "a prodigal and sumptuous picture. It is [Gene] Kelly who saves the picture from being merely a parade of personalities - Judy Garland is attractive as she gets Iturbi to bang out some swing rhythms on the piano. - George Sidney has staged it expansively."
The film was nominated for three Academy Awards; Best Cinematography, Best Score and Best Art Direction (Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart, Edwin B. Willis, Jacques Mersereau).
"Honeysuckle Rose" was nominated for the American Film Institute's 2004 list AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs.
Judy Garland was an American actress and singer. While critically acclaimed for many different roles throughout her career, she is widely known for playing the part of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939). She attained international stardom as an actress in both musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist and on the concert stage. Renowned for her versatility, she received an Academy Juvenile Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Special Tony Award. Garland was the first woman to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, which she won for her 1961 live recording titled Judy at Carnegie Hall.
Anchors Aweigh is a 1945 American live-action/animated musical fantasy comedy film directed by George Sidney, starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, and Gene Kelly, with songs by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. In the film, two sailors go on a four-day shore leave in Hollywood, meet a young boy and his aunt, an aspiring young singer, and the sailors try to help her get an audition at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In addition to a live-action Kelly dancing with Jerry Mouse, the cartoon mouse of the Tom and Jerry series, the film also features José Iturbi, Pamela Britton, Dean Stockwell, and Sharon McManus. Tom Cat has a brief cameo appearance as a servant of Jerry Mouse, the lonesome king. The film received mixed reviews but it became a financial success.
Kathryn Grayson was an American actress and coloratura soprano.
Arthur Freed was an American lyricist and Hollywood film producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Picture twice, in 1951 for An American in Paris and in 1958 for Gigi. Both films were musicals. In addition, he produced and was also a co-lyricist for the now-iconic film Singin' in the Rain.
That's Entertainment! is a 1974 American compilation film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to celebrate the studio's 50th anniversary. The success of the retrospective prompted a 1976 sequel, the related 1985 film That's Dancing!, and a third installment in 1994.
That's Entertainment! III is a 1994 American documentary film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to celebrate the studio's 70th anniversary. It was the third in a series of retrospectives that began with the first That's Entertainment! (1974) and That's Entertainment, Part II (1976). Although posters and home video packaging use the title without an exclamation mark, the actual on-screen title of the film uses it.
The Harvey Girls is a 1946 Technicolor American musical film produced by Arthur Freed for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It is based on the 1942 novel of the same name by Samuel Hopkins Adams, about Fred Harvey's Harvey House waitresses. Directed by George Sidney, the film stars Judy Garland and features John Hodiak, Ray Bolger, and Angela Lansbury, as well as Preston Foster, Virginia O'Brien, Kenny Baker, Marjorie Main and Chill Wills. Future star Cyd Charisse appears in her first speaking role on film.
Joseph Herman Pasternak was a Hungarian-American film producer in Hollywood. Pasternak spent the Hollywood "Golden Age" of musicals at MGM Studios, producing many successful musicals with female singing stars like Deanna Durbin, Kathryn Grayson and Jane Powell, as well as swimmer/bathing beauty Esther Williams' films. He produced Judy Garland's final MGM film, Summer Stock, which was released in 1950, and some of Gene Kelly’s early breakthrough roles. Pasternak worked in the film industry for 45 years, from the later silent era until shortly past the end of the classical Hollywood cinema in the early 1960s.
Little Nellie Kelly is a 1940 American musical-comedy film based on the stage musical of the same title by George M. Cohan which was a hit on Broadway in 1922 and 1923. The film was written by Jack McGowan and directed by Norman Taurog. Its cast included Judy Garland, George Murphy, Charles Winninger and Douglas McPhail.
Roger Edens was a Hollywood composer, arranger and associate producer, and is considered one of the major creative figures in Arthur Freed's musical film production unit at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer during the "golden era of Hollywood".
Ziegfeld Follies is a 1945 American musical comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, primarily directed by Vincente Minnelli, with segments directed by Lemuel Ayers, Roy Del Ruth, Robert Lewis, and George Sidney, the film's original director before Minnelli took over. Other directors that are claimed to have made uncredited contributions to the film are Merrill Pye, Norman Taurog, and Charles Walters. It stars many MGM leading talents, including Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Lucille Bremer, Fanny Brice, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, James Melton, Victor Moore, William Powell, Red Skelton, and Esther Williams.
That Midnight Kiss is a 1949 Technicolor American musical romance film also starring Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson. Among the supporting cast were Ethel Barrymore, conductor/pianist Jose Iturbi, Keenan Wynn, J. Carrol Naish, and Jules Munshin. The commercially popular film was directed by Norman Taurog, who the following year would again direct Lanza and Grayson in the even more successful The Toast of New Orleans.
The Pirate is a 1948 American musical film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. With songs by Cole Porter, it stars Judy Garland and Gene Kelly with costars Walter Slezak, Gladys Cooper, Reginald Owen, The Nicholas Brothers, and George Zucco.
Summer Stock is a 1950 American Technicolor musical film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by Charles Walters, stars Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, and features Eddie Bracken, Gloria DeHaven, Marjorie Main, and Phil Silvers. Nicholas Castle Sr. was the choreographer.
Virginia Lee O'Brien was an American actress, singer, and radio personality known for her comedic singing roles in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals of the 1940s.
Till The Clouds Roll By is a 1946 American Technicolor musical film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It is a fictionalized biopic of composer Jerome Kern, portrayed by Robert Walker. Kern was originally involved with the production, but died before it was completed. It has a large cast of well-known musical stars of the day who appear performing Kern's songs. It was the first in a series of MGM biopics about Broadway's composers; it was followed by Words and Music, Three Little Words, and Deep in My Heart.
For Me and My Gal is a 1942 American musical film directed by Busby Berkeley and starring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly – in his film debut – and George Murphy, and featuring Martha Eggerth and Ben Blue. The film was written by Richard Sherman, Fred F. Finklehoffe and Sid Silvers, based on a story by Howard Emmett Rogers inspired by a true story about vaudeville actors Harry Palmer and Jo Hayden, when Palmer was drafted into World War I. The film was a production of the Arthur Freed unit at MGM.
Annie Get Your Gun is a 1950 American musical Technicolor comedy film loosely based on the life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer release, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and a screenplay by Sidney Sheldon based on the 1946 stage musical of the same name, was directed by George Sidney. Despite several production and casting problems, the film won the Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture and received three other nominations. Star Betty Hutton was recognized with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.
Show Boat is a 1951 American musical romantic drama film, based on the 1927 stage musical of the same name by Jerome Kern (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II, and the 1926 novel by Edna Ferber. It was made by MGM, adapted for the screen by John Lee Mahin, produced by Arthur Freed and directed by George Sidney.
Lovely to Look At is a 1952 American musical romantic comedy film directed by Mervyn LeRoy, based on the 1933 Broadway musical Roberta.