Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #6 (From TWO JUDY GARLAND FILMS)

357 posts in this topic

  1. Obviously The Wizard of Oz from reairings during the 90s and VHS watching when I was young. I didn’t know much of Garland and was mostly focused on the characters from the movie and the book (though I haven’t read the book at that time). Her portrayal of Dorothy was lively and full of ambition to longing for something unique through her Kansas farm and then swept into a magical land from the tornado to get the adventure of her life and through her kindness and strong traits of helping others and herself to get back home. As a child, I see her as an amazing singer and a kind and generous girl wanting to do everything she can to make others feel hopeful and for her to return home with the support.
     
    I think from where I’m coming from, the millennial and Gen. X folks mostly remember Judy Garland as Dorothy from the 80s and 90s on reruns and VHS (given that it’s a fantasy film that’s added with the Disney animated films from 1930s to now), and in that has been discussed and beloved by the young generation for her character, songs, and timeless themes and moments that are relevant in today’s pop culture fandom activities including memes, YouTube essay analysis videos, Comic Con panels for trivia, and parodies recently. So they don’t know much of her outside of The Wizard of Oz as they’re more into geeky, fantasy type films, and only those from the 30s and the cinephiles of then and now would then find out more of her career outside of The Wizard of Oz in films that shape her ambitions, variety of acting choices, singing, and later peaks and valleys behind the scenes.
     
  2. I’ve seen her clips multiple times before doing this course, and was even to this day, impressed by her maturity from The Wizard of Oz’s childlike optimistic girl wanting adventure, to a ambitious proactive and scene stealing woman wanting to develop her triple threat qualities to show off to the audience and that’s with her pairings with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and other leading men at that time that helped build her way up to be amongst the best actresses of that time. So it’s like how when I grow up that I see more of what actors of those periods and what they were up to past The Wizard of Oz that I never knew she had some strong qualities of acting, singing, and dancing that open the doors for her that I have the upmost respect and admiration for her journey.
     
  3. A Star is Born given that I’m well aware of her transitional period of her taking drugs and having to deal with the sexism behind the scenes. But in this film, it was meant to be her comeback that she eventually got where she takes on her maturity and execution of her singing and performances to new directions, from dramatic to hopeful, and lively through hardships and joy. Another one I can think of is Meet Me in St. Louis (though I haven’t seen all of it yet), which I believe has the song: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. I’ve only first heard it from Frank Sinatra during Christmas when I was young, and now knowing where it first came from, it does resonate in how Judy sings it in a way that makes you feel sad and hopeful at the same time given that the film I believe deals with family issues blending drama and comedy. But that’s enough for me to check out later.

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1.     What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her?

The first Judy Garland film, for me, was “The Wizard of Oz”. I was in my twenties before the film aired at a day and time I could view it.  From her first note of “Over the rainbow” I was utterly and completely slayed. I could hardly believe the sweet intonations, and clarity of her voice. I knew her voice was a gift to us all! Her voice was one with which I could blend and harmonize which made it so personal. To this day I prefer her performances where she sings with the same sweetness and gentleness. She can surely belt out any song…however, I love the sweeter side!

2.     How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously?

I always catch myself listening for that sweet quality to Garland’s voice which first captured my attention in “The Wizard of Oz” and I’m happy to say it was there in both of these clips. Her vibrato continues to change as she matures but she maintains beautiful control. As an example, in the clip from “The Easter Parade” she quavers just a little bit of the devilishness she is portraying as she sings the word cad. It made me grin! Additionally, during the dance routines you can see she is as light as a feather. She is a wonderful dancer…bright and I just want to keep watching her so I won’t miss any of her facial expressions! With Astaire it was obvious they had to be careful she didn’t go flying! What a privilege it was for both Garland and Kelly to dance together in “For Me and My Gal”…they are matched perfectly and, for me, it just seemed to be so much fun! There is a lilt to her laugh. In previous films I thought her performances to be much more forced…not so here…she was natural and believable. Neither of these clips truly capture the beauty of her face like was done in “Meet me in St Louis”.

3.     What films in her later career come to mind as examples of her increasing ability to capture an audience’s imagination as a storyteller when she sings a lyric?

From the Movie: “A Star is Born” with the song “The Man that Got Away”…I chose this example because she opens up the relatability of the audience. She evokes understanding and empathy through telling us what has happened, how she feels about it, what is happening now and what the end result is…all through lyrics (and a believable performance).

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1.  The first Garland film I remember seeing was "The Wizard of Oz". I was probably about five years old, and I remember thinking that she looked too old for the part she was playing, and her dress looked too small.  Hmmm...

2.  As I grew and became a singer, I watched "the Wizard of Oz" many more times. I still thought she was too old for the part of Dorothy and that the dress didn't fit, but these ideas prompted me to research her career, and I quickly grew in respect for her talent and courage.  Yes, courage.  

In the clips we studied, Garland seemed more relaxed and natural than in her earlier pictures.  She was more mature in self and style, but it seemed like she had escaped something more than the gingham dress and had been set free.  

3.  In her later films, Garland's ability to bring emotion to a musical story kept evolving.  I have always found "Summer Stock" to illustrate this well.  I think it is probably one of her younger audience's lesser known films, however.  In my opinion, the best story Garland ever told on film was not set to music. It was told by her character in   "Judgement at Nuremberg".

 

 

 

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Was born in 1956, so didn’t see any of her movies when they came out in the theater. But grew up watching her tv show and seeing her movies on tv. Always loved her voice and the power of her performances. Even on the little tv screen, her performances were so big, that you couldn’t look away. So much of what we love about musicals can be seen in watching her films. 

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I think something underappreciated about Judy Garland is that her humor and harmony allowed for far more interesting musical arrangements. Studios could write/arrange far more entertainingly because she had the personality and vocal skill to carry it off.

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1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her?

The Wizard of Oz was the first film I remember seeing Judy Garland in. It was so long ago that I don't remember my first impression but I would think that it had to do with her seeming so genuine in the role of Dorothy. A good singer, actress and dancer. 

2. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously?

I've always thought she was extremely talented and she proves so in the clips

3. What films in her later career come to mind as examples of her increasing ability to capture an audience's imagination as a storyteller when she sings a lyric?

"A Star is Born."

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1. I'm sure this is repetitious but my first experience with Judy Garland was of course "The Wizard of Oz".  Actually, I thought of her more as an adult in that film than a 'little girl".  She was strong-willed and defended her decision to keep Toto. But then her sweet soft voice in "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" made me feel like she had the thoughts and dreams of a little girl.  Just like I was, when I was  younger and first saw this movie.

2.  My view of Judy Garland went from a mature young adult in The Wizard of Oz to a torn dramatic woman in "A Star is Born.  What a contradiction in acting and so well done.  Plus in the aftermath of Oz, she continued to show us her dancing ability and singing.

3. Well, "the night is bitter, the stars have lost their glitter, etc"....she represented this well as an actress from fun-loving singing and dancing with Mickey Rooney to a darker side actress.  I believe she was the night and the stars in a Star Is Born.

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