Small Town Girl (1953)

Duck Creek, Connecticut is a sleepy town full of friendly people. Cindy Kimball (Jane Powell) is one of the town’s most beloved residents — the daughter of the town judge and a soloist in the church choir.

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(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

One Sunday evening, the Kimball family is enjoying a meal after church when they’re interrupted by a policeman looking for the judge. Big city fella Rick Belrow Livingston III (Farley Granger) has been caught speeding around town, and it’s up to Cindy’s father to sentence him.

Mr. Kimball doesn’t take too kindly to anyone who even remotely disturbs Duck Creek’s peace, so he sentences Rick to thirty days in jail. Rick’s fiance, a Broadway hoofer named Lisa (Ann Miller), is none too happy to postpone her wedding. But the wedding may be derailed even further when Cindy begins to take a liking to Rick.

Small Town Girl was directed by Leslie Kardos. The screenplay was written by Dorothy Cooper and Dorothy Kingsley from a story by Dorothy Cooper.

As you may have guessed by the film’s title, much of it focuses on the conflict between small-town life and the big city. It’s all very silly, but Powell and Granger have some fun scenes together, her wholesomeness butting heads with his Big Apple attitude.

As the film moves along, the central couple becomes pretty adorable. It’s one of those annoyance-to-love connections I love to watch. By the end of the film, Granger has become just as wholesome as Powell, showing up at church (of all places) to woo his woman.

Aside from the Powell and Granger love connection, Ludwig (portrayed by Bobby Van) is a bright spot for the film. I’d kind of love a whole movie following his chase for stardom! He’s such a joyful character.

Billie Burke is also a highlight. She’s a great addition to any film, but one of the most fun cast members to watch here. The only greater highlight than Billie is Nat King Cole, whose beautiful voice stole the entire film for me — especially since I had no clue before watching that he would appear.

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(Image via IMDb)

The film contains a number of fun songs and musical numbers staged by Busby Berkeley. They’re nice to watch, but none greatly stand out. They’re nowhere near as extravagant as I’ve come to expect from the king of kaleidoscopic choreography (though that Ann Miller number with the disembodied hands sure is something!).

My feelings about the musical numbers sort of reflect my feelings about this film as a whole: it’s sweet and cheerful to watch, but not very memorable. Still, I’d recommend it for fans of silly-but-cute ’50s romances.

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