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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Judy Garland Week: Favourite Films

I'll freely admit that I haven't seen as many Judy films as I should've done. It's a case of waiting for them to come around on television or waiting until I have money enough to buy decent versions. I'd rather wait and watch them properly than watch inferior versions on the internet that would cause my lethargic connection to buckle. So, naturally, there may be better films that I haven't seen yet. But these five are my current favourites.

5. A Star is Born

Although a wonderful film, parts of it are very hard to watch. The famous scene breakdown scene is so intense and raw that you need a sit down after watching it. The interplay between Judy and Mason is brilliant and the musical performances are perfect. Plus, who can forget those closing moments?

4. For Me and My Gal

Judy is at her most vibrant in this film but it's also one with serious undertones. The first time I watched it, even not knowing what was going to happen, the sight of Jo sending her brother off to war set me off crying, and it frequently still does. The partnership of Judy and Gene Kelly should've spawned more films but the three we have are gems. For Me and My Gal marries drama with charm and a good mix of songs - certainly one of her best MGM pieces. 

3. The Harvey Girls

I often state that The Harvey Girls is my favourite film and, in some ways, it is but I thought I'd try and be a little objective with this list. My attachment to The Harvey Girls stems from the first time I saw and adored it and the reasons are, alongside Judy, Angela Lansbury, Marjorie Main and Virginia O'Brien. As far as Judy goes, this film is delightful. She fits the role perfectly, throwing in the right amount of humour and squaring up to Angela Lansbury in some beautiful scenes. The stand-outs for me are the 'hold up' scene where Susan retrieves the meat stolen from the Harvey House and the fight scene where Susan tries in vain to throw a punch. I've already covered my favourite song from The Harvey Girls earlier in the week but special mention has to go to the 'Round and Round and Round' because it pairs Judy with Ray Bolger.

2. I Could Go On Singing

I've only had the good fortune of seeing this once but it made such an impression on me. Judy's last film, crammed full of raw emotion and a couple of musical numbers that blow your socks off. I remember crying at the end, in awe of the role, Judy's talent and the fact that this was the cinematic culmination of it. Well worth a watch.

1. The Wizard of Oz

Again, how could this not be number one? The first Judy film I ever saw and it's one of my go-to films when I'm ill or in need of comfort. Watching Dorothy fly through the sky to Oz is a comfort blanket and it never gets old. How can a film from 1939 be as brilliant today as it was then? The answer is in the portrayal of the protagonist and it's only right that this is Judy's signature role. 

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