Thursday, June 14, 2012

Case Study No. 0383: Mary Holden

Strike up the Band - Library (Judy Garland)
I adore this moment from the movie Strike up the Band.
Tags: garland strike up the band
Added: 2 years ago
From: Sthrug
Views: 10,330

[scene opens with young Jimmy Connors walking into the Riverwood public library, as he walks up to young library assistant Mary Holden (who has her back turned reshelving books)]
JIMMY: Hello Mary.
[she turns, momentarily startled]
MARY: Hello Jimmy.
JIMMY: Uh, whatcha doin'?
MARY: Just putting these books away.
[he looks around the room]
JIMMY: Huh, there's an awful lot of them, aren't there?
[she gives a nervous laugh]
MARY: Yeah ...
JIMMY: You read 'em all?
[she points to the top shelf]
MARY: Only up to here.
[he gives a nervous laugh, then meekly follows her as she continues pushing her book cart around the room]
JIMMY: Mary, about that fair, uh ...
MARY: Oh, what about it?
JIMMY: Well, I thought that you and I, we had an understanding that we were going together. Uh, to the fair.
MARY: [smiles] Yeah, yeah.
JIMMY: Well, I-I got myself a little tied up, and ... and, um--
[Mary's face falls, but she tries to hide her disappointment by continuing to shelve books]
MARY: Oh ... Oh, there was really no definite understanding that we were going together. Besides, I'm pretty busy. And fairs, they're just-just a bunch of livestock and a merry-go-round. I've seen all that. Besides, they're really for children.
JIMMY: Oh, you wouldn't like anything like that, huh?
MARY: Oh, I like it alright, but there are a lot more important things in life than going to fairs ... with people.
JIMMY: Sure, sure, sure they are! Well, I guess I better get going, I just thought I'd drop in and explain it to you. I knew that you'd understand!
MARY: Oh sure, I understand. You can always count on me, Jimmy ... just the same as you could your own cousin.
JIMMY: Yeah, and I appreciate it, too!
MARY: Hmm ...
[she shakes her head and returns to shelving books]
JIMMY: Well ... well.
[he gives another nervous laugh]
JIMMY: So long ...
[he turns and leaves]
MARY: So long ... pal.
[she pushes the cart back to the front desk with a sad look on her face, when a young female patron wearing glasses walks up to her]
FEMALE PATRON 1: Mary, where can I find a copy of "Romeo and Juliet"?
MARY: It's right back there with the rest of the Shakespeare, on the last shelf.
[she leaves, then a second female patron approaches]
FEMALE PATRON 2: Where's "Anthony and Cleopatra"?
[she points behind her]
MARY: Right back there, leaning on "Romeo and Juliet."
[she leaves, when a third female patron approaches the desk]
FEMALE PATRON 3: Mary, have you ever heard of a book called "Indian Love Lyrics"?
MARY: [tersely] Yes.
FEMALE PATRON 3: Well, I wanna read it.
[Mary begins angrily shuffling a stack of index cards]
MARY: Well, it's all yours! It's over there in the poetry section ...
[she leaves, so Mary goes to grab a stack of books on the desk, when a young nerdy male patron wearing glasses approaches the desk]
MALE PATRON: I beg your pardon, miss. I wonder if you could help me find a book.
[Mary is obviously running out of patience, as the patron reaches into his pocket to take out a piece of paper]
MARY: [tersely] What is it?
[he holds up the piece of paper and reads it to her]
MALE PATRON: "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."
[happy to hear a title that doesn't involve love and relationships, she drops her books and shakes the patron's hand]
MARY: Thanks, brother. It's right over there in the history section ...
[he gives her a confused look]
MALE PATRON: Thank you ...
[he leaves, so Mary sits at the desk to do more work, when another female patron approaches and - without saying a word and with tears in her eyes - places a book on the desk in front of her]
[Mary takes the book and stamps it before glancing at the cover and sees that the title is "Live Alone and Like It"]
[she puts down the book in frustration, then looks around the room and notices the other female patrons reading their books ... one sighs happily looking over her copy of "Anthony and Cleopatra", while the other smiles as she reads her copy of "Indian Love Lyrics"]
[Mary turns her back to them, then starts to sing to herself]
MARY: All the big professors state, that everything should have a mate. Birds and bees and flowers and trees, all have romantic tendencies. So far I have missed the he, that fate decreed was meant for me ... I'm just living in a lull, and I'll confess, it's mighty dull!
[she rests her head in her hands, then looks up and continues singing]
MARY: Romeo had Juliet, and Louie the Sixteenth had Antoinette. But I ain't got nobody, and nobody's got me! Peleus had Melisande, and Isabella had Ferdinand. But I ain't got nobody, and nobody's got me!
[she begins rearranging books on her desk as she sings]
MARY: Welch Grape Juice has Irene Rich, Minneapolis has Saint Paul. Abercrombie has his Fitch, but here I am crying and sitting and sighing, with no one at all!
[she gets up and begins shelving books as she sings]
MARY: Hans had Gretel by his side, and Doctor Jekyll had Mister Hyde ... But I ain't got nobody, and nobody's got me!
[she suddenly looks at her watch, then walks over to the male patron and takes the book out of his hands, as he yawns loudly]
MALE PATRON: Closing time?
MARY: How did you guess?
[she returns to the desk, as the other patrons gather and return their books to her]
FEMALE PATRON 2: Aren't they wonderful?
MARY: Who?
FEMALE PATRON 2: Anthony and Cle--
MARY: Yes! Yes ...
[she goes to reshelve the books, but finds the female patron with glasses sitting in a chair amongst the stacks, staring into space and speaking to herself]
FEMALE PATRON 1: Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo?
[Mary walks over and grabs the book out of her hands]
MARY: Scram Juliet!
[she runs off, as Mary goes about reshelving the books while continuing her song]
MARY: Launcelot had fair Elaine, and Mister Lunt has Miss Lynn Fontanne. But I ain't got nobody, and nobody's got me! Frederic Chopin had George Sand, and Alexander had his ragtime band. But I ain't got no--
[her song trails off, as she stops at the front desk]
MARY: Nobody's got me!
[she opens the drawer to get the key for locking up the library, then continues singing]
MARY: Barbasol has Singin' Sam, Metro-Goldwyn has Mayer. Mary has her little lamb, but here I am hoping and mumbling and moping, with no one to care ...
[she slowly gets her hat and coat, then continues singing]
MARY: Gobs have sweethearts on the wharves, and even Snow White had seven dwarves! But I ain't got nobody, and nobody's got me!
[the camera pans out to show the large (and now empty) library, as she continues singing]
MARY: Nobody ... Nobody's got me!
[she opens the door and exits the library, as the scene fades to black]




Berkeley, Busby (Director). Strike Up the Band. United States: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1940.

Starring: Judy Garland (Mary Holden, Library Worker); Mickey Rooney (Jimmy Connors)

Mary Holden is a library assistant in the town of Riverwood, pushing a bookcart while seemingly shelving and removing books at random (they don't have spine labels, so what the hey). Her boyfriend, Jimmy, drops by and comments about the many books, asking if she's read them all. "Only up to here," she says, cutting the air about shoulder height. He tells her he can't take her to the fair, and she stoically hides her disappointment. Patrons keep asking her for books about couples (Romeo & Juliet, Anthony & Cleopatra, love poems) and she's delighted when one geeky-looking fellow asks for The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (note the stereotype). Then a sad woman returns a book called Live Alone and Like It. Depressed now, our Mary breaks into a tuneful lament ("Nobody"). Mid-song she finds a young lady emoting in the stacks, "Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo?" Mary barks, "Scram, Juliet!" and goes back to her song ("I ain't got nobody, and nobody's got me"). This is the only library scene, and her job has no relevancy to the storyline. Note that she stands at her desk while directing patrons, pointing to the various sections without moving an inch. My first library-boss would have boiled me in book glue if I did that!

No comments:

Post a Comment