Planning a high-profile charity football game that they must nonetheless be sure of winning, the powers that be of Yale attempt to invite the University of Texas, but instead accidentally invite Texas State University, a small college whose town population is a mere 700. Newly arrived coach Jack Haley and his formidable wife Patsy Kelly face the challenge of somehow whipping the football team into something that won’t be utterly destroyed on the day of the big game. The key to possible victory is bumpkin-but-natural-prodigy Stuart Erwin, but he’s a package deal, and comes along with little sister Judy Garland, here making her debut.
In some respects, the film is most interesting in retrospect, featuring as it does future Tin Man Haley in a film with the soon-to-be Dorothy. Also of note is Betty Grable as one of the students assisting Haley and Kelly. This was also a very early release by the newly formed 20th Century Fox studios. All of that history aside, this is still a perfectly pleasant musical, completely enthusiastic in its good cheer. There’s nothing earth-shattering about the comedy or the songs, but they make the 93 minutes pass by most pleasantly.
As per usual, original mono and remixed stereo options are present. The stereo has the expected inappropriate dialogue and sounds coming out of the rear speakers, but the volume is low enough to be inoffensive. By the same token, however, the actual benefits of the stereo sound aren’t hugely noticeable – we are talking about 1936 after all. The sound is clean, with a minimum of static.
The print is a very nice one. There are some minor blemishes, but damage is for the most part non-existent. What little grain there is could hardly expected to be completely eliminated. The image is also as sharp as can be reasonably expected. This picture doesn’t have the perfect clarity that we can expect from the best transfers of films from a few years later, but it does look pretty fine.
There is no commentary track, but the featurettes are a solid bunch. These are the self-explanatory “Making the Team: The Talent of Pigskin Parade,” “Remembering Judy: Lorna Luft on Judy Garland” and “Meet the Coach: Darryl F. Zanuck.” Informative as these pieces are, they have made one odd decision: whenever the subject matter turns to Garland, much is said about her singing, but the accompanying clips are silent. The other extras are liner notes, a restoration comparison, and some still galleries (“Advertising,” “Studio Shots,” “On the Field” and “Campus Capers”).
While there is a museum piece aspect to the film, it still boasts plenty of innocent fun for fans of vintage musicals.