Judy Garland plays young Susan Bradley, a woman who travels out west by train to meet the man she plans to marry. He’s written to her, but she doesn’t know what he looks like. Young Miss Bradley is a live wire who takes her situation and tries to improve it. She tells off the men and moves mountains if she has to. My favorite scene was when she realized the steaks were missing.
This movie features the train song, “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe”, music written by Harry Warren and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The Harvey Girls dance and sing throughout the movie, but my favorite dancer was Ray Bolger. We all remember him from The Wizard of Oz.
Cyd Charisse plays one of the the Harvey Girls who came out west to work in a restaurant by the train depot. When people got off the train, they could come in and order a hot meal served by beautiful young women who are also looking for husbands.
Angela Lansbury is one of the girls working across the street from the restaurant. She and the other “working girls” dance and sing in a saloon for the same men who eat at the restaurant. A little competition and a lot of unhappiness combine to make one man in particular have to choose between which of the girls gets his attention.
John Hodiak, the saloon owner, has to control the men so he can have his cake and eat it too. He did a great job of making himself believable as a conflicted love interest.