There are high-energy film performers like Tom Cruise and Jim Carrey. And then there is Mickey Rooney. In 1939’s Babes in Arms, adapted by Busby Berkeley from the Broadway musical, Rooney plays Mickey Moran, the teen son in a fading vaudeville family maniacally determined to prove that the art form still has relevance—and that he and a bunch of other kids should be the ones to save it with their own, elaborate production. Rooney shouts at almost everyone who looks at him, often grabbing them by the shirt while emphatically shaking his head. Accompanying a singer by playing pizzicato on a cello, he nearly slaps a hole in the instrument. His hammy impressions of stars like Clark Gable and Lionel Barrymore are literal and metaphorical muggings. As with Cruise and Carrey, Rooney will entertain you into submission. All of this overshadows a young Judy Garland, whose somber “I Cried for You” feels like an oasis. Garland, who made nine films with Rooney overall and would have The Wizard of Oz in theaters the same year as Babes in Arms, is the clear bright spot. The story is nonsense, if not an apology for the exploitation of children in the entertainment business, and climaxes with a hideous minstrel medley, in which Garland and Rooney both perform in blackface (and he ratchets up the energy level even further).