Archive for October 20th, 2011

by Jon Warner

Judy Garland. There were always two sides of her. On the one side, there was the immense talent and capability to entertain an audience. Her visceral vibrato could grab you and shake you to your core, and the way she conveyed her joy of singing was always so heartfelt, connecting straight to the audience’s emotions. As a teenager, we saw her in perhaps the most iconic role in the history of cinema – Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939), something most of us recall in a primordial sort of fashion, identifying with her sense of wonderment. On the other side was the immense tragedy. She may have been perhaps the most tragic figure ever created and tossed aside by Hollywood. It’s all the stuff of legend now though: the pills and drugs, the weight losses, the weight gains, the failed marriages, and the suicidal behavior. What’s amazing is that for most of her career, MGM was able to somehow separate the two Judys and glossed over her immense personal struggles, despite her wildly erratic work behavior, to only present us the talent; the good Judy. One film, though, captures all of Judy. All of her intense personal pain and unbelievable talent in one film. George Cukor’s A Star is Born is the film that dared to take Judy as she was, which was both one of the most talented entertainers to ever live and the most tragic of stars. (more…)

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