KWiniarski

Judy vs. Deanna

29 posts in this topic

People could connect with Judy, who displayed her vulnerability and enthusiasm in every performance.  She didn't just sing something, she put her heart (heartbreak) and soul into it--and we believed her.  She had the great good fortune to be teamed with Micky Rooney for several years in the fluffy, funny, patriotic "backyard musicals."  Dorothy cemented her place in musical history forever.  She was magic.  I get so angry thinking about how Louis B. Mayer treated her like a disposable commodity.

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I agree with everything you said about Judy, Rose, but, as I hope my post suggests, people obviously could relate to Deanna. It's no mean feat to have the world fall instantaneously and enduringly in love with you when "all you do is sing" in the most unadorned circumstances the heavily-stylized, potentially moribund "classical" repertoire.  Deanna was consistently praised for bringing qualities of purity, spontaneity, warmth, naturalness and ease to her performances as both a singer and an actress.

These are qualities that one associates with The Great American Songbook repertoire, which was the métier for great movie singers like Judy, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Alice Faye, etc., but they are not qualities one generally associates with classical singing. Deanna, more than any other "classical" film vocalist I can think of, including male singers such as Nelson Eddy and Mario Lanza, made classical singing accessible to audiences of all ages, which is why she was so successful as a child singer, and why, unlike Jeanette MacDonald, didn't have to play a member of royalty or an aspiring/successful singer to "explain" her remarkable vocal talents.

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The background, historical information here is interesting. But take a look at the most enduring women's voices/presence over the time of musicals on film. The Durbins and Graysons did not last as long as Garland, Shirley Jones and Julie Andrews. The move away from the more classical voices parallels the shortening of the vocal range and technical skill required to sing the songs written from the 40's on. Durbin and Grayson were given true operatic arias whereas singable, popular songs that would prove marketable to the record-buying public became another revenue stream for the studios. That is one reason Sinatra was cast in the Anchors Aweigh and On the Town. Fast forward to today and we have mostly stage performers who belt out songs (Menzel and Lapone) or can rap (Hamilton, which will be turned into a film at some point) show up in film. On the men's side, Howard Keel and Mario Lanza was replaced with Gordon McRay and Robert Goulet. Rex Harrison even spoke his songs. Again, musicals pumped out popular tunes that created ear worms and were singable to a wider range of voices. Very smart move by the studios.

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Deanna born in 1921 and passed away at the age of 91

Judy born in 1922 and passed away at the age of 47

I loved both films It Started with Eve (1941) and The Clock (1945).  Try to imagine both women switching roles for the films.  It would have been interesting!

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