Merry Christmas

Esther [Judy Garland] finally gets to meet John properly when he is a guest at the Smiths’ house party, although her chances of romancing him don’t go to plan when, after all the guests are gone and he is helping her turn off the gas lamps throughout the house, he tells her she uses the same perfume as his grandmother and that she has “a mighty strong grip for a girl”…

At the ball, Esther fills up a visiting girl’s (Lucille Ballard, played by June Lockhart) dance card with losers because she thinks Lucille is a rival of Rose’s. But when Lucille turns out to be interested in Lon, Esther switches her dance card with Lucille’s and instead dances herself with the clumsy and awkward partners. After being rescued by Grandpa, she is overwhelmed when John unexpectedly turns up after somehow managing to obtain a tuxedo, and the pair dance together for the rest of the evening. Later on, John proposes to Esther and she accepts.

Esther returns home to an upset Tootie. She is soothed by the poignant “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Tootie, however, becomes more upset at the prospect of the family’s move and runs downstairs, out into the cold to destroy the snowmen they have made. Mr. Smith sees his daughter’s upsetting outburst from an upstairs window.

Remember to let your kids smoke a cigarette.


O’Donoghue’s Opera (St. Patty’s Roundup, Finale)

In the 1960s, some impoverished Irish musicians and folk singers decided to put together an Irish musical.  Based on the balled “The Night Before Larry Was Stretched,” attributed to “Hurlfoot Bill,”* the film, “O’Donoghue’s Opera,” starred Ronnie Drew, later incredibly famous for his work with The Dubliners.  The film, left uncompleted when the makers ran out of money, was found in 1997 in a junk shop in Galway.

Now you can enjoy the entire film on YouTube.  I can’t encourage you to power through the whole thing.  But I think you’ll have some fun around 2:44 of Part 1, where some winning girls sing an old IRA recruiting song.  Then hop to 7:51 to see Larry’s cat burglar costume and the temptation that proves his undoing.

The stirring conclusion I have TubeChopped for you.

It is quite moving, really, to see Ronnie get hung.  This really happened to people all the time.

A great shame that I never had the chance to discuss this film with fellow cinephile/Hibernophile SDB, who was seemingly designed by the Almighty to enjoy this picture.

Elvis Costello recorded “TNBLWS” but I prefer the version by The Wolfe Tones:

* Wikipedia has some stern words on the subject of attribution for this song.