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Entries in Liza Minnelli (22)


Judy by the Numbers: "Together Wherever We Go"

Anne Marie has been chronicling Judy Garland's career chronologically through musical numbers...

Episode 3 of The Judy Garland Show (which would eventually air in its eighth week) was an episode of personal importance for Judy. Her oldest daughter, Liza Minnelli, was joining her for a family-themed show. Liza was only 16 at the time, but she'd already begun building an entertainment resume. While in high school (or rather, while skipping high school) Liza appeared on a Gene Kelly TV special, The Jack Paar Program, Talent Scouts, her mother's London Palladium concert, and was in rehearsals for her Off-Broadway debut in Best Foot Forward. However, young Liza somehow found time in her every-busier schedule to put on a family act.

The Show: The Judy Garland Show Episode 3
The Songwriters: Jule Styne (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics)
The Cast: Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, directed by Bill Hobin

The Story: Two observations stand out watching this clip: 1) These are two talented women who love to perform and 2) These are two talented women who love to perform together. There's something delightfully meta-textual about their decision to sing a song from Broadway's most dysfunctionally overbearing stage mom. As Judy watches Liza, Garland exudes nothing but pride and excitement to share the stage with her daughter. Likewise, teenage Liza - not yet fully confident in her own overwhelming talent - takes her cue from her mother.

Though they're both polished and skilled performers, this song does not come off as a professional production number. Every improvised forehead touch, handhold, or giggle renders a public performance into a personal mother/daughter moment, exposing that vein of reckless vulnerability that made both women incomparable performers. Anyone who grew up in a musical household will recognize this kind of musical intimacy. This is a mother and a daughter goofing off around the piano at home, or belting showtunes in the car on the way to school. Liza and Judy sing together with real affection and private joy. It just happens a TV camera caught it on tape.


Judy by the Numbers: "Look For The Silver Lining"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

Believe it or not, 1946 actually represented a change of pace in Judy Garland's career. Judy only had three credits to her name that year: one starring role (The Harvey Girls), one cameo delayed by reshoots (Ziegfeld Follies), and one appearance in a biopic (Till The Clouds Roll By). In fact, this change of pace was a conscious choice on the part of Mr. & Mrs. Minnelli. If Judy looks like she's glowing a bit more than usual under those arclights, that's because Judy Garland was pregnant.

The Movie:
 Till The Clouds Roll By (1946)
The Songwriter: Jerome Kern (music), Buddy G. DeSylva (lyrics)
The Players: Judy Garland, Robert Walker, Van Heflin, June Allyson, Lucille Bremer, directed by Richard Whorf & Vincente Minnelli 

The StoryTill The Clouds Roll By is a Jerome Kern biopic, which (in the true MGM style) fabricates or glosses over nearly all of the composer's life in favor of a Technicolor musical extravaganza. Judy plays Marilyn Miller, a megawatt Ziegfeld Follies star whose heyday was encompassed the 1920s. At her peak, Miller had had musicals and songs written for her on Broadway, including "Look For The Silver Lining," from Kern's musical Sally. Miller was even beginning to break into Hollywood when illness, substance abuse, and alcoholism forced her into retirement in the early 1930s. Marilyn Miller died in 1936 at age 37, another sad showbusiness story. None of this makes it into the movie, though. Besides, Judy was so focused on the upcoming birth that she may have missed the all-to-prescient warning of the woman she portrayed.

When Garland filmed her two songs for the Jerome Kern biopic, she was already four months pregnant. MGM covered up the pregnancy by fitting her clothes a little looser, and inserting a sink, some dishes (and some dancers' hands) between Judy and the camera. Five months later (nine months before the movie was released) Judy and Vincente welcomed into the world a bouncing baby talent: Liza May Minnelli.



Beauty vs Beast: Weimar Memories

Jason from MNPP here, willkommen and bienvenue, happy to see you! I trust you've all left your troubles outside? Today is the 84th birthday of the Master of Ceremonies himself, Herr Joel Grey, and so we're feeling frisky for some time inside the Kit Kat Club. As an aside, have any of you read Grey's recent autobiography? I highly recommend it if you haven't -- he's lived a hell of a life and doesn't hold back. (I recently shared my favorite tidbit from the book over at my site.)

Grey originated the role of the MC on stage (and won a Tony for it) and was the only person carried over from the cast to the film (much to Bob Fosse's chagrin), which led to him also winning the Oscar for the role. (This came up recently when Patty Duke, who also won both a Tony and an Oscar for the same role,  passed away.) Standing beside him that night and clutching her own statue was of course a little somebody named Liza Minnelli - maybe you've heard of her? But darlings, now we must choose...

PREVIOUSLY The new Captain America movie is out in about three weeks and we gave you guys the chance to make your Civil War wishes known --wellh the titular Captain stomped right over his fellow Avenger Iron Man to the tune of just under 90% of the vote! It's a blow-out for Cappy! Said Sawyer, taking these results to their (logical? harsh?) extreme:

"Cap all the way. I can not abide Tony Stark. I hope he dies in this movie."


10 Linksfield Lane

Playbill Danny Boyle may direct the film version of the Broadway musical Miss Saigon
First Impressions a deep dive revisit of Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring "Sofia Coppola is a great filmmaker, in every way the equal of anyone of her generation"
Daily News
sad story about the disappearance of Richard Simmons. Fans think he's being controlled and held in his mansion against his will like the second half of the Love & Mercy plot

Film Doctor "the pleasure of withholding information" on 10 Cloverfield Lane
Awards Daily
have you watched the trailer for A Hologram for the King? How will it adapt the book?
AV Club thinks Zootopia is the inversion of Wreck It Ralph. Spoilers
EW Paramount has dumped The Little Prince animated movie just a week before its intended release. What is going on with that picture?
YouTube Anna Kendrick and Stephen Colbert are huge Stephen Sondheim fans
E! Adorable photo of the Malia and Sasha Obama w/ Ryan Reynolds
Vogue Lourdes Leon (aka Spawn of Madonna) makes her modelling debut for Stella McCartney

Showtune to go
It's Liza Minelli's birthday. Do your best Fosse in her honor... 


Link Slippers. They're Surprisingly Comfortable

Defamer Jessica Lange throwing shade Lady Gaga's way in an American Horror Story press event
White Noise wonders why Hollywood can't get hackers (and computers in general) right?
Salon Excellent interview with Daniel Franseze (Mean Girls) about his breakout Looking character, a complete rarity for TV, and HIV prevention 
Playbill has an updates on the musical version of Mean Girls that Tina Fey is working on
CHUD Bobby Cannavale says that there's a lot of comic improv in the Ant-Man film this summer 
Pajiba looks at "Jonathan" (aka Danny Strong) and how the Buffy super villain surprisingly became such a success story after the series. 

Comics Alliance Captain America: Civil War wants to start shooting in a couple of while while the various Avengers actors are still deep in promotion duties for Age of Ultron. (Marvel has definitely moved into "rush everything!" mode. It wouldn't seem to impossible if all the Avengers weren't in it but they seem to be.)
PressPlay has a video essay on what it means to be an auteur 
Playbill Liza Minnelli has reentered rehab after a recent back surgery
Black Maria has some recommendations on Warner Archive. I keep wondering if I should join this but I already spend so much $$$ on movies. Have any of you tried them out?
The Dissolve is horrified by forthcoming Robin Hood adaptations from Hollywood. Yes, there are five of them in development and they all sound quite dumb!
Pajiba omg you guys, did you see the Miley Cyrus wax figure? Yikes.
The Film Doctor looks back at Nightcrawler's "atrocity montage"
Women and Hollywood check on these horrifyingly sexist casting ads. Like this one... ugh:

There's something unnerving about her. Maybe she's read too many books?

Oscars are so far away but Oscar talk never is
Gold Standard Glenn Whipp on why the Academy shouldn't go back to 5 Best Picture nominees. Did I share this already? I might have shared this already.
Awards Daily One of our most high profile documentarians, Alex Gibney, has a possible contender this year in Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief which hits HBO at the end of the month. (Seems like wishful thinking, Oscar-wise, to me since Hollywood has a lot of Scientologists that will undoubtedly be offended by it.

Cinderella is still spinning
i09 in our Cinderella retrospective we forgot about this oddity. Fairie Tale Theater's version with Matthew Broderick as Prince Charming!
Guardian attacks the new Cinderella for not being more like Frozen and selling feisty girlpower and for its "pinkification"... whatever that word means in this context. Sigh. This article and line of thought make me angry. Listen, I'm all for feisty girlpower but you know what's even better for men and women alike? diversity in representation. It's not good for boys to only have heroes that are physically intimidating and it's not good for girls to only have heroes that are anachronistic 'you go girl!' athletic types. There's more than one way to be an admirable film character that kids can look up to. I think this adaptation does wonders keeping the princess-to-be true to the material while also transforming her into a better role model. A protagonist that emphasizes fine-tuning your inner moral compass and positively affecting change through compassion and forgiveness is a protagonist that's still mighty heroic and worth emulating if you ask me. Not every "hero" needs to be able to kick ass.


What I have linked, I have linked.

Popwatch Julianne Moore tribute coming in January at the Museum of the Moving Image - let the coronation mark begin
In Contention Pedro Pascal for Ben-Hur and portrayals of Pontius Pilate on the screen
Salon what Gone Girl and Amazon's Transparent have in common
Interview talks to David Cronenberg
iTunes You can buy Norte: The End of History, The four hour acclaimed Philippines Oscar submission on iTunes now if you'd like.
Vulture talks to Kim Dickens from Gone Girl on claims that the movie is misogynist 


Awards Daily new trailer for Unbroken. I feel like there've been a lot of these
i09 compares Battlestar Galactica to Outlander given that they're from the same series creator Ron Moore
Criterion is releasing the classic The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant on blu-ray. Rainer Werner Fassbinder's movies are not available enough so this is great news
The Hollywood Reporter Clowns of America International (that's a real thing) is pissed about AHS: Freakshow's Twisty the Clown. In related news how come y'all didn't comment on the last AHS post. You led me to believe you were watching it!
Screen Daily Jane Campion developing a second season of Top of the Lake
Latino Review Actress Elizabeth Peña (Jacobs Ladder, La Bamba, Modern Family) has passed away at 55 
Towleroad Ezra Miller feels like surprise casting to me as The Flash in DC/WB''s superhero universe (unrelated: I'm enjoying the CW TV show of the same name thus far. It isn't great but it's light & fun, unlike Arrow which bored me silly)
Towleroad gays on television from ABC's hypersexual connivers & neutered comics to the wider queerness of premium and cable channels
Playbill that stage musical version of American Psycho is still happening and is now looking at fall 2015 on Broadway 

Times one thousand.

It's a teaser for the new Disney short Feast. This short apparently tells the life story of a Boston Terrier solely through his meals. It'll play before Big Hero 6 and we may be looking at a serious Best Animated Short Oscar contender. 

The Divas...
It's way too early to be thinking about Christmas but if you're an early shopper please know that Glen Hanson, an illustrator I just love, has designed a Liza Minnelli holiday ornament. Thanks to Boy Culture for the heads up. The proceeds go to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS.  If you want one you purchase here.

In other Broadway news, a special tribute to Elaine Stritch is coming on November 17th with performances by (are you sitting down) Patti Lupone, Betty Buckley, Christine Ebersole, Michael Feinstein, and my personal favorite of the theatrical divas of a certain age, Bernadette Peters

So who is singing what? They're keeping that a secret naturally.  


"But the World Goes Round"

To any one of you out there having a rough time of it... this too shall pass. Take this electricifying piece of comfort from Liza Minnelli in Martin Scorsese's New York New York (1977) on her birthday. And who would know better than her? 

Somebody loses and somebody wins
And one day it's kicks, then it's kicks in the shins
But the planet spins, and the world goes 'round-
But the world goes 'round
But the world goes 'round

Sometimes your dreams get broken in pieces
But that doesn't matter at all
Take it from me, there's still gonna be
A summer, a winter, a spring and a fall