The Clock

The Clock marks Judy Garland’s first non-musical star vehicle. Production got off to a rocky start, with the temperamental Garland unhappy with the film’s first director, Fred Zinnemann. On the strength of his great success with Garland on Meet Me in St. Louis, MGM put Minnelli in charge of the picture; he responded immediately to the urgency and vitality of The Clock’s time and place: New York City during World War II. On a two-day pass, Robert Walker’s gangly soldier clings to Garland’s sympathetic secretary for a whirlwind courtship in the hours before he ships overseas, only to lose her in the city’s rush. The sounds of the city itself serenade the lovers - tug boat horns and subway rails set the mood in Riverside Park - while Minnelli never flinches from the wartime backdrop that underscores the romance with desperate uncertainty. The Clock demonstrates Minnelli’s early ability to give the affective lives of his protagonists vivid urgency onscreen.”

Harvard Film Archive1