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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Judy Garland Week: Favourite Film Performances

Looking at Judy's film career, there are numerous song performances in films that stand out. Picking just five is a tricky task but, again, I've chosen ones that mean something to me personally. Of the ones I've excluded from this list, some will find their way into the large list of song favourites on Friday. Others miss both lists just because there are too many of them to choose from. For instance, I adore her rendition of 'Easter Parade' with Fred Astaire but there's no room for it. Similarly, 'Better Luck Next Time' from that same film is captivating and 'Have Yourself a Merry Christmas' breaks my heart every time. I'm beginning to think I needed a larger list! However, here are five of my favourites from Judy's film career...

5. 'On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe' from The Harvey Girls

It may seem strange to select a number that Judy only appears in half of but, boy, what a half. This production number centres on the disembarkation of the women into the town of Sandrock. Judy emerges last and is utterly captivating. Perhaps what I love most are the little touches between her and Ray Bolger. It's sweet and a nice reunion film for them. Unfortunately, the only clip I could find only shows Judy's half of the song and it's in black and white! 

4. 'The Man That Got Away' from A Star is Born

What can be said about this one? It's a stunning song with Judy perhaps at the height of her vocal powers (though I change my mind weekly about that) and this rendition ebbs and flows perfectly. You live a lifetime in a song and that little wink at the end... Wow. 

3. 'I Don't Care' from In the Good Old Summertime

This jolly little number is full of energy and the message behind it is probably why I adore it so much. However, seeing her dance that silly little dance and swing round the pole always makes me smile. From one her lesser-known films - and one where she's so very, very funny - this is a gem.

2. 'For Me and My Gal' from For Me and My Gal

I heard a shortened version of the song long before I watched the film, which half-prepared me for how much I'd enjoy the number but not quite. Judy and Gene singing and dancing together is something particularly special and this song epitomises their shared brilliance. (Though see down below for a little bonus number that I also wanted to share...)

1. 'Over the Rainbow' from The Wizard of Oz

How could this not be number one? It's not only the song that triggered my love affair with Judy but also the one that captivated millions across the world. Whenever you think of Judy you have to think of her as Dorothy and this song never, ever gets old.

(Bonus - 'Portland Fancy' from Summer Stock)

I just love this dance a lot...

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