Cast: Judy Garland, John Hodiak, Ray Bolger
Director: George Sidney
Studio, year: MGM, 1945
Story outline: Judy Garland is a mail-order bride riding a Santa Fe train to Sand Rock, New Mexico. Also on the train is a contingent of Harvey Girls, waitresses in the Fred Harvey restaurants that operated at meal stops on the Santa Fe. When Judy arrives at Sand Rock and discovers her husband-to-be is not the articulate, romantic man she envisioned in their correspondence, they break the engagement, and Judy becomes a Harvey girl as well. She discovers, however, that the letters she received had been ghostwritten by the proprietor of the local gambling hall and bordello. Judy sets her sights on him, while the working girls in the bordello try to drive the Harvey House out of town, fearing the competition from the wholesome Harvey girls. In the end, the Harvey girls win out, the bordello moves down the line, and Judy gets her man.
Railway content: Scenes of fairly well restored 1870s equipment, apparently from the Virginia and Truckee, on the line and arriving at the station. Very nice closeups of authentic paint and woodwork. However, the show's centerpiece is the rendition of the Johnny Mercer song "Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe", which was written for this film, won an Oscar, and, as performed here, verges on the sublime.
Format: English, color, musical
Available on video: US NTSC 1990
Percentage of railway: 2
Quality of railway: 4