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Hallelujah! A Judy Garland Retrospective

The Lincoln Center and the Paley Center here in NYC have joined forces to celebrate the all-singing all-dancing legend that is Judy Garland! 

Shout 'Hallelujah', c'mon get happy!"

Once upon a time she was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer." Few celebrities have ever earned their PR self-mythologizing titles the way Judy G did. There's just no beating her for musical pleasure and cathartic heartbreak. And as if her sensational singing and dancing weren't enough, she was a fine actress, too!

I missed the first week of the celebration being in Michigan but I'll see what I can catch for the remainder of the summer program which ends August 9th. If you're not in New York City, you can always follow along at home as best you can with an impromptu DVD festival.


Still to come in the festival are...

Young Judy:
Everybody Sing (1938), For Me and My Gal (1942), Presenting Lily Mars (1943).... and of course a handful with Mickey Rooney: Babes in Arms (1939), Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), Life Begins For Andy Hardy (1941) and Girl Crazy (1943)

Peak Judy: 
Meet Me in St. Louis
(1944) *one of my personal all time favorite films*, The Clock (1945) which was her first non-musical dramatic role, The Harvey Girls (1946), Easter Parade (1948), In the Good Old Summertime (1949), Summer Stock (1950), and the legendary A Star is Born (1954) in which Judy gives one of the greatest performances of all time. It should have won her the Oscar with ease. 

Late Period Judy:
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) *Judy's final Oscar nomination*, A Child is Waiting (1963) with Burt Lancaster, and the must-see (for its thinly veiled Judy autiobiopic'isms) I Could Go On Singing (1963). Meanwhile, over at The Paley Center there's a longer celebration of her television years which runs through August 18th [more info here].

Watch a Judy Garland film this week! Which would you choose?


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Reader Comments (4)

The hospital scene from 'I Could Go On Singing' is still so raw.

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric Arvin

It's hard to pick since she elevated anything she was in and none of her movies are really terrible. Depending on mood and what period you're looking for. St. Louis has great things in it besides Judy. The Clock is a delicate lovely little love story. Summer Stock has some great singing in it but the story is trite, it's fascinating in it's own way as you watch Judy's weight change from scene to scene sometimes dramatically. The Andy Hardy's depend on your tolerance for Mickey Rooney, mine is low so I'd skip them. Ziegfeld Girl has an amazing cast and a knockout version of "I"m Always Chasing Rainbows" delivered by Judy but Lana Turner is really the focus. Her early Metro films are mostly fodder but if you've never seen any of them "Presenting Lily Mars" and Girl Crazy are decent the rest worth seeing for her. Oz & A Star is Born are watchable anytime and Star is her best showcase. Then there's the world weary somewhat brittle Judy of "I Could Go On Singing" again the story is corn but when she sings it's compelling and the hospital scene with Dirk Bogarde is probably one of the most emotionally exposed moments ever put on film. Like I said hard to choose.

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Summer Stock is terrible, but it's one of her finest dramatic performances, and her singing is great, up until the end, excluding Get Happy, where I think her performance becomes erratic.

Meet Me In St. Louis is fantastic, as is The Wizard Of Oz, and a criminally underrated In The Good Old Summertime is fantastic. Presenting Lily Mars was pretty good, but I haven't seen about a quarter of it, so I need to finalize my opinion. i also have not seen all of Easter Parade either! Have seen snippets of The Pirate, and something about the tone of the film turns me off.

But A Star Is Born os her best. What a performance!

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

I have wanted to see The Clock for quite a while now, but if I could only see one of these (despite my deep-seeded affection for Meet Me In St. Louis) it would be A Star Is Born, if only because I somehow still have not seen it and I feel like any day now they're going to revoke my gay card until I do.

But really, she was in so many great films, it's kind of astonishing. St. Louis, Oz, and Easter Parade are all stone-cold classics, and Babes In Arms, Summertime, Summer Stock, Harvey Girls, Girl Crazy, and Nuremburg are all just below that status - at least in my mind. The Pirate is such a weird film, as is I Could Go On Singing in its own way, but they both have plenty of great musical moments.

For better or worse, there will never be another.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdenny
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