The Harvey Girl from Shanghai

In early 1945, Judy Garland and Orson Welles are about to go into production on their films THE HARVEY GIRLS and THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI. They go to MGM producer Arthur Freed with the idea of combining the scripts to create a new kind of film musical. Many great talents are assigned and the film goes into production. But something happened, and the film was stopped mid-production. What happened?

We are told "only the players know" by columnist Louella Parsons. Those players -- Parsons in 1956 from her office, Welles in 1955 while working in Europe and Garland in 1954 on the set of A STAR IS BORN -- tell their stories about this unfinished holy grail of film history.

Bits of the production are extant, including a 1945 pre-trailer; a scene in Chinatown between the Garland character (Susan Bradley) and the Welles character (Michael O'Hara) for which only still images exist; a musical number with Garland, for which the sound has been lost and an alternate "film noir" ending written by Lillian Hellman.

The footage shot on the fun house hall of mirrors set was ordered burned as whatever happened must have closed down the film. A re-inactment is staged based on the Hollywood lure of the occurrence, and years later, in 1967, Orson and Judy are reunited to discuss the film on the television series, THE JACKIE SUSAN SHOW. A mysterious thread involving the Stendahl syndrome, the Stolkhom syndrome and the Helsinki Formula runs throughout.

  • Michael Frost
    Director
    Lana Turner Overdrive (2011); VUM: Mountain Tooth Live at the Integratron (2011); It All Happens Here: Abel Ferrara & the Making of 'Bad Lieutenant' (2009); Chi sei? (2009); 3 Stories About Evil (2008); Never Trust a Woman (2008); Glitter in the Dirt: The Making of 'Sparkler' (2006); Death Is Beautiful: Michele Soavi Directs Dellamorte Dellamore (2006); Blood, Bugs and Romance: An Interview with Lucky McKee (2006)
  • Walter Reuben
    Producer
    The David Whiting Story (2014); 3 Stories About Evil (2008)
  • Andrew Sachs
    Producer
  • Charles Wright
    Producer
  • Woolsey Ackerman
    Key Cast
    The David Whiting Story (2014)
  • David N. Donihue
    Key Cast
  • Samm Hill
    Key Cast
  • Suzie Kane
    Key Cast
  • Joey Krebs
    Key Cast
  • Scott Michaels
    Key Cast
  • Leigh Myles
    Key Cast
  • Amelia Pawlak
    Key Cast
  • Kat Turner
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    LGBTQ, Mystery, Dark comedy, Short
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 49 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 2, 2010
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1.85:1
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • 2010 Atlanta Underground Film Festival
    Atlanta, GA
  • 2010 Boston Underground Film Festival
    Boston, MA
Director - Michael Frost