Film Bitch History
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Entries in Judy Garland (89)


Renee Zellweger Sings as Judy Garland

by Murtada Elfadl

The buzz is building fast and loud for Renee Zellweger's performace as Judy Garland in Judy. All we needed was to check the voice. Will she sing or will she lip sync a la Rami Malek? Well without further ado check it out.

This is not an exacting impersonation per se from Renee but rather an interpretation. It's just a few notes from one song...

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Howard Keel Centennial: "Annie Get Your Gun"

Our Howard Keel Centennial celebration begins. Here's Nathaniel R...

What is the lasting legacy of Hollywood's biggest musical of 1950, Annie Get Your Gun? The best remembered thing about it may well be its place in Judy Garland's storied career; she was infamously fired well into production, marking in some ways the nadir of her career, and fueling the mythology of that comeback of all comebacks with A Star is Born (1954) after a four year absence from the big screen. But that's not the movie as it exists today, only what could have been. And "could have beens" are many with this troubled production which lost its original star (Judy), its first two directors (Busby Berkeley and Charles Walters) and one key supporting cast member (Frank Morgan as Buffalo Bill, who died after filming began) on its way to its final cut.

The first shot of Howard Keel in "Annie Get Your Gun"

Though "Annie Get Your Gun" has had a long healthy life on stages, big and small (including three Broadway runs: 1946-1949, 1966, and 1999-2001) it's most lasting cinematic contribution is the introduction of Howard Keel as a leading man...

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Soundtracking: "A Star is Born (1954)"

Chris Feil's weekly look at music in the movies will be revisiting all of the musical remakes of A Star is Born in coming weeks. Here is 1954 and Judy Garland...

Musicals are known for their required suspension of disbelief, the fact that we must buy into a reality where people simply burst into song. But the legacy of A Star is Born has its own kind of suspension of disbelief: the notion that whatever legendary songstress that leads each version is some undiscovered talent. George Cukor’s 1954 version (the first to properly musicalize the story birthed in William A. Wellman’s 1937 original) requires the greatest leap. But there are few cinematic superstars in history as immediately convincing in their gifts as Judy Garland.

Casting such a powerhouse as a woefully undiscovered talent is absurd on paper, as if the film exists in some fantasy land where maybe she’s never opened her mouth or humans have ceased to have ears. Our buy-in to the conceit of the plot has to be as momentous as her implacable voice...

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Soundtracking: "Girl Crazy"

by Chris Feil

The Gershwin musical Girl Crazy was immortalized on screen by Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in 1943, shortly after it arrived on Broadway and brought with it a handful of legendary numbers from the songwriting duo. George and Ira Gershwin are part of the American musical fabric, having crafted a treasure trove of a songbook where the source material has become irrelevant to the legacy of the songs themselves. Indeed, Girl Crazy would later be expanded and reconfigured to make one of the first jukebox musicals Crazy For You.

So even with screen legends like Garland and Rooney, the legendary tracks still only compare to decades of plentiful versions we have heard since. And while neither star (both carrying essentially the entire film’s musical weight) create definitive versions of these Gershwin songs, how could you? Part of the film’s charms from a contemporary perspective is how the musical numbers don’t feel encumbered by having to match a legacy...

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Beauty Break: Happy Mother's Day! 

Michelle Pfeiffer with her daughter Claudia Rose early onHappy Mothers Day to any of our readers who are mothers and Happy Mother's Day to all of your mothers, too. Herewith some of our favorite actresses with their first born...

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47 days til Oscar nominations and I'm feeling a bit morbid...

by Nathaniel R

Edith Piaf and Judy GarlandPerhaps it was those uninspired Critics Choice nominations? Perhaps it's no critical year-end love for La Pfeiffer in her comeback year? Perhaps it was my anti-depressant prescription running out with no health insurance to renew it with? Or, probably, it's the generally miserable state of the world in which things are so dire that we're watching a kleptocracy filled with proud sexual predators, treasonous pathological liars, greedy overlord billionaires, fact-averse idiots, and blatantly sociopathic racists amass power at a record pace, dooming future generations to have it much much worse than we even do now? Meanwhile the good people of the world stare in disbelief whilst fighting amongst themselves for any number of reasons but the largest, we suspect, is a feeling of impotence against the actual enemies.

But since I was feeling terrible all day whilst trying to come up with our habitual trivia fun with numbers as we countdown, I kept remembering that Judy Garland died when she was just 47. (I'm working my way to a non-morbid point after the hand-wringing...)

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