The Great Movie Re-Watch
In the Good Old Summertime (1949)
Robert Z. Leonard
In turn-of-the-century America, Andrew and Veronica are co-workers in a music shop who dislike one another during business hours but unwittingly carry on an anonymous romance through the mail.
Close to fifty percent of this movie’s dialogue is word for word from The Shop Around the Corner. I feel like this could only happen in the time before home viewings. The only meaningful addition was the music, which was very good.
I’ve watched In the Good Old Summertime back to back with The Shop Around the Corner before, but the reused dialogue never bothered me before. I’m not sure if it bothers me now either. I just noticed it a lot. I realize this is supposed to be a musical adaption, but they had no issues changing other things.
Judy Garland did a much better job with the female character than Margaret Sullavan. Jimmy Stewart did a marginally better job than Van Johnson. Sullavan and Johnson weren’t bad actors by any means. Garland and Stewart were just better.
In the Good Old Summertime was the first movie that Liza Minnelli appeared in. She was only at the end in the sort of epilogue part. It was also the next to last film Garland made with MGM.
While watching the film, I read up on Garland for the first time in a while. She deserved so much more than she received. The way the men around her treated her was awful. Studio heads, husbands, and managers, all seemed to be out to use her in one way or another. It’s sad to read about. She was such an amazing woman, and I can’t imagine what wonderful things she would have given us if she hadn’t died so young.
After watching these two older versions of this story, I’m looking forward to watching You’ve Got Mail when I get to it. Out of the three of them, I feel it does the better job with the romance.