Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

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

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1) As many have mentioned, The Wizard of Oz was the very first Judy Garland movie I saw. I was six years old and totally mesmerized with Judy's emotional performance, her dynamic rendition of "Over the Rainbow" and her dominance in being the central character for the entire movie. I remember wanting to speak like "Dorothy" and have the where with all to help everyone. That's the impact she had!!

2)I have seen both of these movies and am impressed with the change in Judy's role in movies. She was no longer the girl next door trying to get Andy Hardy's attention. In these clips you see a grown-up multi-talented Judy performing with the top musical stars of the time, Astaire and Kelly. What I love most is her on-point comedic timing and general playfulness. She was much more than a triple threat. She did it all with such emotion and finesse. No one like her.

3)In "A Star Is Born", Judy tears your heart out in "The Man That Got Away". Wow It's a simple scene in a jazz club after hours but her rendition tells you quite a story. You feel her pain. The other Garland movie that showcased a song with a story is without a doubt, "Meet Me in St. Louis" when she sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". As Professor Ament said, Judy sang it with total authenticity. It has been part of our popular culture for more than 74 years. 

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I am yet another whose first movie with Judy Garland was The Wizard of Oz. I was enchanted with the movie, but especially with Judy. I started wearing my hair in braids and sang Over the Rainbow so much that it made my mother nuts. As I grew older, I lost touch with my enthrallment with the movie and with Garland.

For the daily dose clips, I found I liked her much more with Kelly than with Astaire. While of course Astaire is one of the best musical performers ever, he seemed to me flatter and less comical in his performance compared to hers. He was more graceful and moved like silk as he always does, but it didn't match the song and routine. She was more earthy and comical, with bigger facial expressions and broader movements. She and Kelly were much more alike in their styles. They seemed easier and more natural together. I believed in their moments. In all honesty, Gene Kelly is one of my top three actors/performers of all time, so I may have some bias here.

I didn't give her as much notice as other musical stars until recently, especially with today's lecture video and daily dose. I enjoyed her films, but I had not watched many of them for a long time. I recently watched A Star Is Born. Being much older than when I last watched it, I appreciate so much more her performance and the pain underlying it. The Man That Got Away is heart wrenching. I also really like Summer Stock (with Kelly again, go figure) and Get Happy. She owned her sexiness and femininity and talent through and through.

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   My first recollection of Ms. Garland is likely the same as millions of others, watching the umpteenth annual presentation of “The Wizard of Oz” on CBS television in the early 1960’s. I liked her voice and her presence held my attention every year. My parents encouraged my interest in old movies and the late show provided me with “The Pirate”, “Easter Parade”, “Summer Stock”, “A Star is Born” and especially “Meet Me in St. Louis”. (Full Disclosure: I am from St. Louis and “MMISL” is considered rather sacrosanct by its citizens and many of us wouldn’t consider it Christmas without watching it after coming home from Midnight Mass). 

   It always amazes me that her voice lasted a in such great shape disputes the damage she did to it. “A Star is Born” by all accounts should have been a turkey but Ms. Garland gave the finest performance of her career. Simply amazing.

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The first film I watched Judy Garland perform in was The Wizard of Oz when I was in my late twenties because I was afraid of tornados as a youngster and was not about to watch and become terrified.  Lol.  I knew her power performance voice and ability to identify with emotion she was sharing long before I saw her act.  So I was somewhat disappointed with the little girl from Kansas who seemed to be afraid of everything and everybody saying with forrowed brow, "Oh dear!  Whatever will we do?"

But when I have watched her films this week I have seen quite a progression from the young child to the soulful sister in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS and EASTER PARADE.   She grew into the powerful performer who I had first identified.  A woman full of power, passion, and the natural display and understanding of every word she sang. What a firecracker!!!  It is sad that she struggled with drugs and died so early.

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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.  She seemed like an ordinary girl, but then I'm from Kansas too.

2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously?  I've seen and enjoyed both clips before.  It occurs to me that when you are good and perform with excellent partners you become better.  I think that goes for Judy, Fred & Gene.  

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?  I haven't actually seen her later films but her performance of "Get Happy" was so all out.  Your attention couldn't be aware else during that song.

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1. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most people were introduced to Judy Garland through Wizard of Oz. I happen to be one such folk. Nowadays, seeing her belt "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" fills me with unbridled joy and consistently amazes me that one person could contain so much talent. Back when I first watched it, though, at the ripe age of 3, my thoughts went something like, "Wow she sings pretty. Where's the color?"

2. Well, considering I've seen both of these films before, my opinions on Judy Garland haven't changed one bit. She's still incredible, sweet, funny, all the good things that a human being can be. If I sing any more of her praises, my throat's gonna get sore!

3. Usually when I think of Judy Garland's later career, A Star is Born immediately pops in my head. And when I think of her ability to tell a story with a song, I think of "The Man That Got Away" from the same film. The whole tune serves as foreshadowing for later events (which I shant spoil for those who haven't watched it). It's a terribly sad song, and though it is sung at a happier point in the movie, Judy puts so much emotion into it that you could swear she was feeling every bit as morose as the lyrics would imply. She was a master of drawing listeners into the music with her powerful voice. Aaaaaaand there goes my throat!

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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 that I’ve watched in its entirety was The Wizard of Oz. As a youngster, she had the talent to encompass the appropriate emotion at any given time during any given scene. She played very wholesome, but was also just as concerned, stern, thoughtful, frightened, curious, considerate and vulnerable - everything that Dorothy was supposed to be in such a whimsical tale. I specifically remember how smooth her singing style was. Her voice sounded so mature and seasoned. When she was singing her songs in the film, I'd see this young person's face and out comes the mature voice of a talent 10 years her senior. She fit the bill and I couldn't imagine anyone else - including Shirley Temple - play the role.

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

After viewing the clips and of course going on to watch her in later roles, there is a deeper appreciation for her as a professional performer. She has the ability to take very difficult techniques (simultaneously, mind you) and wrap them up into performances that the moviegoing audiences would think just comes naturally to her. To take even any ONE of the disciplines of acting, dancing, singing, not upstaging co-stars while blocking and the intangible overall likability of her characters is very difficult to do. She takes a science and makes it seem like nature.

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?

For me, it’s Easter Parade. There are so many dimensions to her character of Hannah as well as a strong character arc within the story that she seems to transition them seamlessly and naturally.

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1.  My introduction to Judy Garland was as Andrew Hardy's (Mickey Rooney) teenage love interest and musical partner in a series of film about Judge Hardy's family. Bright eyed, adorable, eager to make a good impression, and above all, she appeared to be having a good time.  Although staged, it seemed so easy for her.  Miss Garland was in and out of trouble with Andrew and they seemed to sing and dance their way through it all. 

2.  I don't view Judy Garland so much as different, as she became better known, but as being able to adapt her gift to more advanced story lines that were appropriate for her age. So, we get to see a more mature vocalizing of and reaction to romance in different time periods of America which may have been reflections of her own personal realities.

 

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Wizard of Oz was the first Judy Garland film I saw, probably around 7 or so (guessing). I know I wondered how this girl had such a lovely, mature (grown-up would be my 7 year old self word) voice. She was young but so pretty. As for the clips, in the first one she shows her humorous side, which shows she doesn't have to look glamorous to do a great number. 

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1) The first movie i saw Judy Garland in was Wizard of OZ when I was about 5 years old I watched it with my Dad. It started a life long fan appreciation of her I thought she was so beautiful and wanted to do my hair like her and copied her dancing the best I could.

2) She was so talented and could do anything she was so amazing. I wish she had stayed with us longer.

3)There are too many to name she was just the standout in any film I saw her in with her beauty and talent. She could make you cry with a song if it was a sad song and not have a care in the world when it was happy. I really enjoyed her performance in Meet me in St Louis.

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Response to #1. 

Probably the first film in which I saw Garland was Wizard of Oz, however I have vague recollections of watching a couple of her films before I saw Wizard (and I was very young when I watched Wizard for the first time). My first Garland film may have been the short Durbin/Garland featurette, Every Sunday. I don’t remember what I thought of Garland as a child. One of my favorite film characters was Dorothy. 

Response to #2.

Garland began in vaudeville, singing and dancing with her two sisters, so her flexibility as a performer is not surprising. Most vaudeville entertainers were/are extremely versatile, ex. the recently passed away Rose Marie. I think the one thing, above anything else, that sold Garland was her voice. She could deliver a song, any song. And she had a beautifully expressive face, could share and command a stage with her costars, and convince her audiences that she was the girl next door, the young lady at the edge of womanhood, the mature woman in charge of her life, etc. Her versatility was always evident. The clip from Easter Parade is one of my favorites, because it shows Fred Astaire all duded up as a bum, and it allows both actors the opportunity to exercise their comedy muscles. Garland’s face in For Me and My Gal was simply luminous, throughout the film. She expressed every emotion her character was feeling, without having to utter a word. I would have viewed them in flipped order, with the 1942 film before the 1948 film, just to see the transformation from Garland’s on-screen persona of young lady to woman truly develop. 

Response to #3.

Summer Stock is a wonderful film, and Garland turns in a rich, nuanced performance as the older, responsible sister who finally follows her heart. The musical number “Get Happy” has always been, to me, what Garland wanted to be personally but wasn’t even though the characters she portrayed got their happy endings, chased down the rainbows. The way she approached and moved through that song and dance routine is timeless. 

 

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Daily Dose #6

1) My first film that I watched of Judy Garland was Wizard of Oz. My first impression of Judy was that she seemed so likeable and a bit of unsure of herself more so based on the character she played in that movie.

2) These two movies highlight how much of a comedienne Judy due to her  comedic timing and use of facial expression she uses is on point.  She also appears elegant in the second film and has such an ease about her that she seems confident and sure of herself. I also hadn’t realized how great a dancer she is.

3) In these movies, you can see the immense talent Judy showcases where she can connect with audiences emotionally. For me a Star is Born shows her vulnerability and her great acting ability where people can relate to her and her awareness of her imperfections since she is not this idealistic glamorous movie star. She’s just like us, with flaws, struggles and aspirations.

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1. The first Judy Garland film I watched was The Wizard Of Oz when I was a kid. My first impression of Judy was that she was sweet and lovely and a good singer. 

2. Now that I'm older my impression of her has expanded. I view her as a brilliant actress. I also think she is a fantastic singer and dancer. I've been a fan of her's for years and she will always be one of my top favourite actresses. 

3. For me and my gal, Meet me in St Louis, The Harvey Girls, Easter Parade and A Star is Born. I can't just pick one movie from her later career, they all stand out to me because she is a brilliant performer. Her singing talent has a way of sounding happy and draws you in to be and feel entertained. Judy back in the 1940's made the people feel good while the war was going on, nowadays you still feel good watching those old movies. I therefore definitely think her films still have the same magic as when she first made them. 

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47 minutes ago, AmyH said:

Can someone explain where precisely we are supposed to post? I post on the Modules Discussion forum for the particular day's topics, but they don't carry over here. Are we expected to monitor all and reply multiple times?

Dr. Edwards stated in the CANVAS discussion board that the TCM discussion threads were the “official”discussion option for the class, because they will continue when the class ends. The CANVAS discussions will be closed and archived when the class ends on June 30; they were added so international students could participate because the TCM Discussion Forum was not working for some of the international students. So, if you can post here, please do. Your comments will have a much longer shelf-life.

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2 hours ago, Temperancegirl1971! said:

My first Judy Garland film was the Wizard of Oz. It was on TV and in black and white because that's what we had for a TV. I absolutely believed in Dorothy, but now, so many years later, re-watching Wizard, I expected to feel a sense of corn around Over the Rainbow. It isn't there. I suppose I thought that now, so much older and more jaded, I might see behind the sincerity and find show biz. No. Judy still sings Over the Rainbow as she did when I was young and seeing her for the first time.

My next Judy Garland experience was her TV show and, unlike so many of you, I wasn't a fan. I didn't like the way she looked and I didn't like her music or her voice. I think that at that time in her life she was struggling so with her addictions and emotional problems and may have even taken on the TV show due to being swindled and in debt. So I didn't find her relatable at all. Thanks to TCM, I have since seen many of her movies, from Andy Hardy films to Easter Parade. I find her very funny in most of her movies. Such a subtle kind of comedy. And, I enjoy her voice much more as an adult than I did when I was younger. However, I still don't find her attractive and the hairstyles they put on her, many times, only emphasized that for me. 

I saw the Harvey Girls for the first time today and I think the scene where she takes 2 six-guns into the Alhambra to retrieve the steak is hilarious. As for songs, Get Happy is a favorite. I heard her sing it with Barbra Streisand on a Barbra Streisand TV special. Judy sang Get Happy and Barbra sand Happy Days Are Here Again at the same time. It was great to hear those two voices together. 

I suppose I can't think of any "later" films of hers besides a Star is Born and I've only seen bits of it. I've never seen Meet Me In St. Louis, either, so thanks, TCM for showing them with this class!

 

The Alhambra scene from The Harvey Girls...I had forgotten about that! Such excellent comedy!!

 

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

I was a child when I first saw Judy Garland in the “Wizard of Oz”. I realized that she was unlike any other child star I’d ever seen. Her singing voice was far superior to the other kids (and adults), she seemed beyond her years. She was a prodigy.

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

I have always been in awe and had reverence for Judy Garland’s talent.  It is no surprise that she can share the stage with the likes of Kelly and Astaire and hold her own singing and dancing with them. She is the consummate star and performer.  What I view differently she is so responsive to her co-stars  and I think how hard she must have worked to make her dancing look so effortless, esp.  when she had no formal training and she was dancing with the best in the business. She was such a great performer.

  1. 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? What comes to mind is the “born in a trunk” sequence from “A Star is Born”.  That sequence blows me away as she sings and dances through a fictional biographical sketch.  Judy Garland reached people because she connected with the audience and seemed so sincere when singing, you believed that she is describing her own love life when she sings “But not for me” in “Girl Crazy”. In “I could go on Singing”, she is again very believable as the troubled singer, because her storytelling is sometime so parallel to her own life.   She really gave her all when she performed.  The only person that comes close to Garland in story telling through song is Frank Sinatra.

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Ok - here I go again.  I am a big fan of Judy Garland and have learned more about her part of film as I grew up.  My earliest memory of her was in "The Wizard of Oz" and she was magnificent.  However, after that, my next memories of her were from television and her shows and she was pretty much strung out on drugs by that time.  She was always sort of slurring her words and not really the embellishment of her own craft any more.  My father was a great fan so I listened and watched and thought it was great until recently when I went back and looked at some of that again and realized she was a mess really.  But then I went to the films and saw just how talented she was and what made him that enthralled with her talent.  But I do NOT think that "A Star Is Born" was very good at all.  I hated the implanting of stills to fill in what they could not afford to shoot and I did not care for James Mason's part.  It was certainly not one of my favorite efforts on her part - even the whole hysterical crying scene.  Too much melodrama.   I did like the outtake that TCM showed with her rendition of "The Man Who Got Away" - that never made it into the film.  See?  That is why the film falls short for me.  Thank you for the opportunity to speak about this.

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Meet Me in St Louis is one of my favorite movies in general and my favorite Judy Garland musical. I adore everything about it, especially its recreation of the Gilded Age Midwest. I'm interested in how nostalgia is deployed and used in this movie. Its MGM so already there is a level of gloss and sumptuousness that goes into the created world. The St Louis of MMISL portrays a time that was glorious. Beautiful in clothing and architecture. There is a gracefulness in the sets and the Technicolor is simply sublime. As Dr Ament said on the lecture video, their problems aren't really problems. The Smiths are a financially stable attractive family, comfortably upper middle class (even though Rose makes comments that they're not) and while the thought they might have to move away gives them anxiety, they don't move from their beloved city. Characters are concerned with crushes and marriage and friends and having an active social calendar. One song is literally about a boy next door. In short, this is a perfect place that could only have existed in the past, and in the movies. 

Dr Rydstrom spoke about getting rid of post-modern cynicism when watching this movie and I agree. Intellectually, you know that turn of the century St Louis was not perfect as presented. You know that era was rife with egregious racism and misogyny. It was classist. It was xenophobic. Missouri was located directly in the Jim Crow south. Even the 1904 World's Fair was the site of extreme white supremacy and degradation. There is nothing-historically and realistically- "good" about the 1900s. 

And yet. 

I am always hit with twin feelings of nostalgia and sadness. A feeling that I wish I had lived in that era; and that that era is what I am living in now. And a sadness that this era, as designed, populated, and built by MGM wasn't real. But I still miss it. Its mining a  nostalgia for what was (as far as movie magic goes) and what it wasn't. What it could have and should have been. The real world wasn't like the movie portrays but it recreates an era that you wish was your own, if not a wish that that that time period was actually as perfect as it is presented to be.  I have this same feeling about Mainstreet USA at Disney World. Walt Disney recreated an imagined turn of the century setting for the same reason MGM did for this movie.

Nostalgia, specifically nostalgia for a time period you know was created on A Californian backlot, is a curious thing. To quote Don Draper in Mad Men, "it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. A place where we know we are loved". The "it" I am using in this case refers to movies but the show's wheel-carousel metaphor can apply too. This is the power of movies. It is the cinematic seduction that lulls you into the dreamworld that has been created on screen. And in the case of history and time periods, it makes you forget about the truth of that era and allows you to let yourself go (no pun interned ;)) and get swept away and into. 

I imagine audiences watching MMISL in 1944 had the same feelings and thoughts as I do about the Edwardian setting and placement of the story. Perhaps different. I can only make assumptions. If I can watch this movie and escape from what is going on in 2018 socially and politically, I imagine a wartime audience in need of optimism  and uplift connected to the nostalgia and central themes of home and family even more acutely than I do. This movie is so comforting and genuine in its pathos it warms you all over. And people needed that feeling of security and hope the movie provides. The world we were living in (1944) was confused, dysfunctional and uncertain because of the war and the social change wrought from it but could escape into a past that never was. Or wish that their reality, their current times, were more like the movies than real life. 

 

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1. I'm sure the first time I ever saw Judy Garland was in the Wizard of Oz. But in that movie, she was always Dorothy. The first films where I think of Judy Garland as herself are the Andy Hardy films. In those, she was always girlish (but not a little girl like in the Wizard of Oz), and sweet, and kind, and patient--all to a fault because Andy didn't treat her very well most of the time. I always rooted for her in those movies. And when she sang, she would command the screen and reach out and touch you with emotion.

2. I've seen Easter Parade dozens of times, and I still marvel at Judy's performance. How petit Judy could not only keep up but take the focus away from Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly is testimony to her talent. An even funnier scene from Easter Parade is when Fred asks Judy to catch the gentlemen's eyes while walking down the street. When the camera reveals she's making a fish face, it is such a sweet moment. In For Me and My Gal, a film I'm less familiar with, I was able to see Judy never stop acting while she sang and danced, something I hadn't thought about before.

3. I think the Man That Got Away from A Star Is Born is the quintessential song delivery by Judy. Every note and inflection is amazing. I heard a story that the director, George Cukor, filmed the scene with her singing that song without a single edit because he knew Judy could perform the song flawlessly and compellingly and own the screen. Few performers could be so emotional and magnetic in one take, but Judy could.

What a joy to be able to share my thoughts and hear others praise Judy and her incredible talent.  

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

I first saw her in "The Wizard of Oz" when I was a little girl & watched it every year. I don't think I truly appreciated her talent until I got older & started watching all her other musicals. That's when I fell in love with her & especially her pairings with Gene Kelly. She had such a beautiful, strong voice, but could keep up with Gene & Fred Astaire like a pro! 

  1. 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?

I would recommend checking out the film "The Clock" that starred her & Robert Walker I believe. It's NOT a musical, but I love the story & her acting in it. It shows how she was an excellent actress even when she wasn't singing & dancing. I also love her in "In the Good 'Ol Summertime" with Van Johnson & "Summerstock" with Gene Kelly. Just too many favorite movies to name of hers! "Wizard of Oz" was just the tip of the iceberg of her talent.

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1. Of course, the first movie I saw Judy in was The Wizard of Oz. I really like her but I have to admit that I was mostly interested in the fact that Oz was in color and Kansas was in BW. And those flying monkeys scared the crap out of me. It wasn't until I was older and watched her other movies, that I gained an appreciation for her performance in that movie!

2. Watching these two clips really haven't changed how I feel about her performances because I have seen (and own) both of these movies multiple times!

3.I have to say two of my favorite movies are Easter Parade, which we do watch every year on..Easter. Judy really knows how to put over an Irving Berlin tune. And The Pirate. It's such a delightfully garish movie with Judy, Gene and the Nicholas Brothers, all consummate performers! 

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The first movie I remember seeing Judy Garland in is Wizard of Oz.  It was on during the Holidays, I recall often on Thanksgiving weekend.  I remember watching with my whole family sitting around the television set.   My Dad would make popcorn or fudge as a treat.   When she sang Over the Rainbow, it was like she was singing the questions, I (and probably everyone else) had asked themselves in the privacy of their own thoughts and dreams.  

I have seen For Me and My Gal, and Easter Parade many times.   My opinion of Judy Garland as a performer each time I see these or other movies or shows she preformed is always awestruck.    She has a beautiful singing voice, of course, but I think she is an underrated actress.    In one of my favorite films, A Star is Born, her singing is central to her role, but her acting was first rate.   I also liked her in the small role she played in Judgement at Nuremberg.  She sensitively portrayed a woman victimized and scarred by Nazi Regime she live under before and during WWII.  

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

I first saw Judy in the Wizard of Oz. I was amazed by both her face and her voice. Her voice was so big and her face was so young. I also watched her variety show. My mom wouldn't miss it.

 

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

I don't remember the scene with Fred Astaire from previous viewing. It was hard to see Fed with Judy on the screen, unless the camera was on their feet. She stole it. I know she didn't mean to, but she did. And her voice overpowered his, which wasn't hard to do.

 

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?

I saw her in A Star is Born. She was much older and the ravages of her life at the studio were showing. Between her TV and this performance, there was a real disconnect for me. She was so emotive when she sang on TV, but in A Star is Born, maybe because I lived so much of that in real life, I only saw the pain, and her musical ability seemed to be in the background.

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  1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her?  I believe that the first Judy Garland film I recall watching was "The Wizard of Oz" when I was about 4-years-old.  I fell in love with Judy, and she was my childhood (and beyond) idol!  I then saw her as Betsy Booth in the "Andy Hardy" film series and then in "Babes in Arms."  With each film, I grew to love her and her talent more and more.
  2. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously?  I don't view her differently.  However, these clips remind me of the tremendous respect I have for her as a performer.  Her maturation and adaptation in her performances with two of the greatest male dancers of all time (along with the Nicholas Brothers) is incredible.  Her interpretation of the lyrics is spot on -- so believable.  You feel the songs and get a personal glimpse of her human experience along the way.
  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?  In order, I would say that "Sunday Morning," "The Wizard of Oz," "Strike Up the Band," "Meet Me in St. Louis," "Easter Parade," and of course, "A Star is Born" show her maturation.  She is absolutely incredible in "A Star is Born," and her interpretation of "The Man I Love" is spell-binding!  I feel every word of the lyrics.  Such an amazing talent!

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