Judy Foster (Jane Powell) is a Santa Barbara teen with your average teenage problems. She and her friends are rehearsing songs for an upcoming school social event, but they’re butting heads with snobby senior Carol Pringle (Elizabeth Taylor), who thinks they’re not performing the songs the correct way. Famous band leader Xavier Cugat will be a guest at the dance, so the stakes for making the night go perfectly are high!
But her battle with Carol over the music will be the least of Judy’s problems when her beau, Oogie (Scotty Beckett), refuses to accompany her to the dance. Judy and Carol soon find themselves trapped in a love triangle when Judy meets a handsome fella named Stephen (Robert Stack), who offers to take Oogie’s place as her escort, and then Stephen meets Carol.
Alongside all of her teenage dilemmas, Judy becomes fearful that her father (Wallace Beery) may be stepping out on his marriage with a beautiful dance instructor (Carmen Miranda).
Richard Thorpe directs 1948’s A Date with Judy. The film is inspired by a radio show following the many adventures of Judy Foster and her family.
A Date with Judy‘s opening narration paints a portrait of a picturesque life in Santa Barbara. The families are happy, the homes are nice, and the students always have something exciting going on at the local high school. The complications of this seemingly-ideal life are revealed as the film progresses, but of course, all problems are minor. And in a happy community like Santa Barbara, the end of the story is always going to be sunny!
Jane Powell is cast in the role of a sweet but spunky girl-next-door type, as usual. Taylor’s role of resident mean girl is much more interesting as this film appeared during her transition from child star to leading lady. Both ladies, however, do very well in their roles.
A few great supporting performances are delivered along with the delightful work of our gals Liz and Jane. Carmen Miranda is wonderfully funny and shows off her talents for dance, Wallace Beery brings many laughs (especially with his attempts at dancing), and there’s Lloyd Corrigan as “Pop,” the friendly neighborhood drug store/soda shop owner.
A Date with Judy is good, clean fun with plenty of lovely songs. This teen dramedy may seem a bit dated (to today’s viewer), but it offers a charmingly quaint portrayal of the life of a teen girl in the mid-century.