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THE CLOCK (1945)


Romance blossomed in front of and behind the camera in this touching drama, the only non-musical film Judy Garland made at MGM. She had been begging the studio to give her a straight dramatic role when the production delays she caused on Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) inspired producer Arthur Freed to suggest she follow it with a smaller film. It was the adaptation of Paul and Pauline Gallico’s unpublished story about a soldier (Robert Walker) and a secretary (Garland) who marry after a two-day courtship in New York. Originally, Jack Conway was supposed to direct, but he fell ill after shooting background locations in New York. He was replaced by the up and coming Fred Zinnemann, who failed to click with Garland. At her request, he was replaced by Vincente Minnelli, whom she had dated while working on Meet Me in St. Louis. He restructured the script, lightened the tone and turned New York into the film’s third major character, asking the art department to re-create some of his favorite locations. He also spent a lot of time helping Garland with her role. The two would marry shortly after completing the picture. Producer Freed has a cameo as a man giving Walker a light, and musician Roger Edens, another Garland mentor, appears as a piano player. (d. Vincente Minnelli, 90m, 35mm)

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