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Judy! Judy! Judy! (it's so nice to see you)


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Today is Judy Garland day.

 

The Pirate is on- weird movie that it is, it means well enough and has plenty going for it- namely Judy's performance, which- personal problems of the time be damned- is plucky, ironic, thoroughly grounded whilst Kelly minces and hams about all over. There's more than a hint of wryness to her deliveries that favorably contrasts with the (perhaps over the top?) flamboyance of Kelly and Minelli. She saves the movie, and I still laugh out loud at some of her deliveries...and even though the music material is not as good as usual, she certainly excels in delivery.

 

I think she should have gotten a 1948 Best Actress nomination for this, but the "starring role in a bomb" nomination went to Ingrid Bergman that year for her unfortunate Joan of Arc.

 

I also think that Judy should've gotten an outright best actress nomination in 1939 for The Wizard of Oz instead of the Juvenile statuette. A case could be made for nominations for Meet Me in St. Louis and- especially- I Could Go On Singing which came out in 1963 (a very weak year for actresses.) I have always wondered how she failed to get nominated for that one; had she won it would've made a great story- but the "triumph over adversity" Oscar that year understandably and justifiably went to Pat Neal. It's a really underrated performance not mentioned among her best, and it should be. She's excellent.

 

That she should've won a A Star is Born is written in stone. Love her in Nuremberg too.

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I love Judy Garland. If there was ever a day to feign illness and stay home from work, today would have been it; but I didn't, mostly because I have a lot of the movies airing today and am recording a couple others I'm interested in.

 

I really love "The Pirate." It's a weird movie; but is entertaining. I'm a big Gene Kelly fan as well-- I know he's a little hammy; but I love him anyway. His collaborations with Judy were excellent. I really loved "For Me and My Gal" and "Summer Stock" as well.

 

My favorite Judy movies are "Meet Me in St. Louis," "The Clock," and "The Harvey Girls."

 

But I love all her films. I haven't seen "A Star is Born" in forever. I should watch it again.

 

EDIT: ooh I forgot about "Easter Parade!" That ranks above "The Harvey Girls" for me. I'm glad Fred Astaire got that role over Gene Kelly.

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I love Judy Garland. If there was ever a day to feign illness and stay home from work, today would have been it; but I didn't, mostly because I have a lot of the movies airing today and am recording a couple others I'm interested in.

 

I really love "The Pirate." It's a weird movie; but is entertaining. I'm a big Gene Kelly fan as well-- I know he's a little hammy; but I love him anyway. His collaborations with Judy were excellent. I really loved "For Me and My Gal" and "Summer Stock" as well.

 

My favorite Judy movies are "Meet Me in St. Louis," "The Clock," and "The Harvey Girls."

 

But I love all her films. I haven't seen "A Star is Born" in forever. I should watch it again.

 

EDIT: ooh I forgot about "Easter Parade!" That ranks above "The Harvey Girls" for me. I'm glad Fred Astaire got that role over Gene Kelly.

What IS the plot of EASTER PARADE, a movie that I have no intention of ever watching a second time?

But what really perplexes me is the fact that Garland (and Cher) are regarded as gay icons. Why is that the case?

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What IS the plot of EASTER PARADE, a movie that I have no intention of ever watching a second time?

But what really perplexes me is the fact that Garland (and Cher) are regarded as gay icons. Why is that the case?

The plot of Easter Parade is that Fred Astaire's partner Ann Miller leaves the act because she's tired of being a second banana to Astaire.  She wants to headline her own show-- this leaves Astaire in a bind, because he needs a new partner.  I believe that he has just signed a contract prior to Miller leaving the act.  Fred Astaire and Peter Lawford (Astaire's best friend) end up at a restaurant I believe where they're discussing how they're going to find a dancer for Astaire.  Lawford wants Astaire to try and convince Miller to come back.  Astaire, still hurting from Miller's abandonment brags that he doesn't need her and can make a dancer out of anyone.  In walks Judy Garland who is part of a dance troupe.  He watches her peformance and decides to hire her.  At first she doesn't want to accept; but money talks and she joins the act. 

 

Astaire tries to teach Garland the fundamentals and they're able to fulfill Astaire's previously contracted engagement-- albeit, Judy's performance is rough.  After a period of trying to improve the act, Astaire and Garland hit upon a new formula for their act-- one that exploits both of their talents to their full potential-- they will add singing to their routines.  Next we're treated to a montage of different performances which depicts their rise to stardom. 

 

Miller, seeing her former partner Astaire's success with Garland is jealous.  Astaire and Garland go to see her new show and Miller invites Astaire on stage to perform one of their old numbers.  Garland, jealous of Astaire and Miller's routine, leaves.  Astaire then chases her to her apartment apologizing saying that Miller forced him onstage.

 

The movie ends with Astaire proposing to Garland at the famous "Easter Parade" in New York City.  At the beginning of the film, Garland had told him about her dream to walk down the street in a beautiful dress and hat. 

 

All through the story, there is a love triangle that is intermingled amongst all the dance numbers.  Lawford is in love with Garland; Garland is in love with Astaire.  Garland thinks Astaire loves Miller; Astaire later realizes he loves Garland. 

 

In my opinion, the highlight of the film is Astaire's "slow-motion" dance routine.

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What IS the plot of EASTER PARADE, a movie that I have no intention of ever watching a second time?

But what really perplexes me is the fact that Garland (and Cher) are regarded as gay icons. Why is that the case?

 

Why don't you ask some of the gay people you know why they love Garland and Cher?  

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I decided on my way home from work tonight that I'd try to catch some of Judy Garland day-- I've seen most of the films shown; but I did DVR "Strike up the Band." 

 

I got home just in time to catch "The Clock" at the beginning.  This is one of my favorite Judy Garland movies-- I wish MGM had given her more opportunities to act in films without also being counted on to turn in a musical performance.  I realize that Judy's singing films were probably huge moneymakers for MGM and I enjoy many of her musicals; but I really love her in this film.  It's just a sweet, romantic film.  Nothing more, nothing less. 

 

After this, I plan on catching "A Star is Born."  I've seen this film before; but it was a long time ago and I can't remember much about it-- so this will be pretty much like watching it for the first time. 

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I got home just in time to catch "The Clock" at the beginning.  This is one of my favorite Judy Garland movies-- I wish MGM had given her more opportunities to act in films without also being counted on to turn in a musical performance.  I realize that Judy's singing films were probably huge moneymakers for MGM and I enjoy many of her musicals; but I really love her in this film.  It's just a sweet, romantic film.  Nothing more, nothing less.

 

Totally agree.  IMO Judy is quite underrated for her dramatic acting, which always strikes me as beautifully natural.  Her performances in The Clock, A Star Is Born, and I Could Go On Singing could stand on their own without a single musical production being added, even though her singing obviously enhanced the last two of those films.

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I got home just in time to catch "The Clock" at the beginning.  This is one of my favorite Judy Garland movies-- I wish MGM had given her more opportunities to act in films without also being counted on to turn in a musical performance.  I realize that Judy's singing films were probably huge moneymakers for MGM and I enjoy many of her musicals; but I really love her in this film.  It's just a sweet, romantic film.  Nothing more, nothing less.

 

Totally agree.  IMO Judy is quite underrated for her dramatic acting, which always strikes me as beautifully natural.  Her performances in The Clock, A Star Is Born, and I Could Go On Singing could stand on their own without a single musical production being added, even though her singing obviously enhanced the last two of those films.

Completely agree with your assessment of Judy's dramatic acting skills.  She is mainly remembered for her musicals; but I think it's forgotten that she could actually act.  Even in some of her musicals, in her non-singing scenes, she always gives a natural performance without it seeming like she's acting.  In less comedic scenes, she expresses a certain vulnerability that makes her a sympathetic character.  In Summer Stock, for example, while it's a pretty average musical, with the exception of Judy's show stopping "Get Happy" number, there's a scene where Judy's character realizes that she's falling for Gene Kelly's character.  In the scene, she is standing outside, looking up at the starry sky, singing a song called "Friendly Star."  This song is a very emotional moment in the film and it's very effective due to the feeling Judy injects into her songs.  The most poignant part of the song is when they do a close up and her eyes are tearing up.  Her song renditions typically elevate the film from a typical average musical to something a little more. 

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I decided on my way home from work tonight that I'd try to catch some of Judy Garland day-- I've seen most of the films shown; but I did DVR "Strike up the Band." 

 

I got home just in time to catch "The Clock" at the beginning.  This is one of my favorite Judy Garland movies-- I wish MGM had given her more opportunities to act in films without also being counted on to turn in a musical performance.  I realize that Judy's singing films were probably huge moneymakers for MGM and I enjoy many of her musicals; but I really love her in this film.  It's just a sweet, romantic film.  Nothing more, nothing less. 

 

After this, I plan on catching "A Star is Born."  I've seen this film before; but it was a long time ago and I can't remember much about it-- so this will be pretty much like watching it for the first time. 

 

I haven't seen The Clock in ages, but reading this reminds of Keenan Wynn, didn't he have a rather sharply finny set piece in an all-night diner? I remember rather enjoying that. There is a scene later when the two are in a cafeteria and there is an older man who seems to listen intently (not eavesdropping, really ... he is seated close to them) and his head goes from one to the other as they speak to each other.. He's as interested as we are! Another humorous effect, there. Robert Walker has a nice versatility, maybe rare among actors ... he can play creepy if the role demands, or he can be a thoroughly nice guy, as in The Clock. Very convincing, both.

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I haven't seen The Clock in ages, but reading this reminds of Keenan Wynn, didn't he have a rather sharply finny set piece in an all-night diner? I remember rather enjoying that. There is a scene later when the two are in a cafeteria and there is an older man who seems to listen intently (not eavesdropping, really ... he is seated close to them) and his head goes from one to the other as they speak to each other.. He's as interested as we are! Another humorous effect, there. Robert Walker has a nice versatility, maybe rare among actors ... he can play creepy if the role demands, or he can be a thoroughly nice guy, as in The Clock. Very convincing, both.

According to IMDB, Keenan Wynn is "The Drunk."  I don't know much about Wynn's career except that he plays the policeman in "The Long Long Trailer" which I've seen a million times. 

 

I haven't seen much of Robert Walker in anything else aside from this film and "Bataan" (which honestly I can't remember much about except that Desi Arnaz plays a Mexican and dies of malaria).  I do like him in this film, although his voice reminds me of Richard Crenna's teenager character's voice on an episode of I Love Lucy

 

I love the story, it's so sweet and the film doesn't try to be anything but a simple love story.  Judy doesn't have to sing; there isn't a political message; etc. It's just a story of two people who fall in love and get engaged after a whirlwind courtship.  Of course, they're against "The Clock" trying to get all the necessary tests and paperwork completed to get their marriage license and their first date they meet under "The Clock."  I love how when they're in the milk truck, I think the driver looks and talks to them for like 30 seconds without even looking at the road!

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In less comedic scenes, she expresses a certain vulnerability that makes her a sympathetic character.

 

I agree, and I think that it's Garland's extraordinary ability to portray that sort of vulnerability while not appearing to be "acting" that sets her apart from the crowd.  Barbara Stanwyck is just about the only actress I can think of who's also got that particular skill to the extent that Judy does.

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In less comedic scenes, she expresses a certain vulnerability that makes her a sympathetic character.

 

I agree, and I think that it's Garland's extraordinary ability to portray that sort of vulnerability while not appearing to be "acting" that sets her apart from the crowd.  Barbara Stanwyck is just about the only actress I can think of who's also got that particular skill to the extent that Judy does.

I agree.  I love Barbara Stanwyck as much as I love Judy.  Even when they're in subpar films, for me, Judy and Barbara do their best with the material they have and always produce a performance that may save the film, or at least they'll be the best part of the film.  Both actresses are very versatile and can appear in a variety of genres.  I think Judy would have been excellent in a film noir.  I wish she were given the chance-- although, I don't think MGM produced many film noirs.

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A Star is Born is starting (I'm on a delay from having paused The Clock a couple times); and in Robert Osborne's intro, he stated that upon its original release, the movie was hacked to bits in order to allow theaters to show the film more often.  This wasn't news to me, as I had heard this before and read about it in a Judy Garland biography.  However, he stated that original dialogue tracks have been located and some footage.  Osborne stated that in TCM's version, they're going to replace footage that they don't have with stills.  That should be interesting.

 

I've seen footage of the A Star is Born premiere.  I remember seeing a clip of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz being interviewed and Lucy expressed admiration for Judy. 

 

I have seen this before; but it's been quite some time, so this will be like watching it again for the first time as I really can't remember much about it. 

 

Does anyone know if any complete cut of A Star is Born exists? What about the Blu Ray that was released a couple years ago?

 

I think it's a shame that this film didn't revive Judy's career like she was hoping.  From all accounts, it sounds like the failure of the film at the box office and Judy not winning the Oscar was the beginning of the end for Judy Garland. 

 

I just read on Wikipedia that Cary Grant was director George Cukor's first choice; but he turned it down because he didn't want to work with Judy Garland.  Other choices were Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra but Warner Brothers said no.  Apparently Stewart Granger was also considered and even went as far as to act out some scenes; but he didn't like Cukor's directing style.

 

Sorry this post is so disjointed... this is more of a stream of consciousness post for me.

 

EDIT: Okay, so I just watched Judy's performance of "The Man That Got Away."  Wow.  That was amazing.  I do love me a good torch song and this was the torchiest torch song ever.  Loved it.  Definitely the highlight of the film so far.  I may need to get me another Judy Garland album that has this song on it.  Looking at the CDs available on Amazon, I think I may get Judy's 40th Anniversary at Carnegie Hall album.  That looks like the best one.

Edited by speedracer5
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According to IMDB, Keenan Wynn is "The Drunk." 

 

That brief characterization might be misleading. Judy and Robt are sitting in an all-night diner and Keenan enters, having had a few. He acts the drunk and carries on a bit, but as I remember there was nothing too awfully disagreeable about the the appearance, in fact, I thought him funny and I think he was meant to taken that way. Anyone please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm running the peril of commenting on something long ago. At any rate, it is a juicy little bit for an actor in a set piece, a nice little gig for Keenan.

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The plot of Easter Parade is that Fred Astaire's partner Ann Miller leaves the act because she's tired of being a second banana to Astaire.  She wants to headline her own show-- this leaves Astaire in a bind, because he needs a new partner.  I believe that he has just signed a contract prior to Miller leaving the act.  Fred Astaire and Peter Lawford (Astaire's best friend) end up at a restaurant I believe where they're discussing how they're going to find a dancer for Astaire.  Lawford wants Astaire to try and convince Miller to come back.  Astaire, still hurting from Miller's abandonment brags that he doesn't need her and can make a dancer out of anyone.  In walks Judy Garland who is part of a dance troupe.  He watches her peformance and decides to hire her.  At first she doesn't want to accept; but money talks and she joins the act. 

 

Astaire tries to teach Garland the fundamentals and they're able to fulfill Astaire's previously contracted engagement-- albeit, Judy's performance is rough.  After a period of trying to improve the act, Astaire and Garland hit upon a new formula for their act-- one that exploits both of their talents to their full potential-- they will add singing to their routines.  Next we're treated to a montage of different performances which depicts their rise to stardom. 

 

Miller, seeing her former partner Astaire's success with Garland is jealous.  Astaire and Garland go to see her new show and Miller invites Astaire on stage to perform one of their old numbers.  Garland, jealous of Astaire and Miller's routine, leaves.  Astaire then chases her to her apartment apologizing saying that Miller forced him onstage.

 

The movie ends with Astaire proposing to Garland at the famous "Easter Parade" in New York City.  At the beginning of the film, Garland had told him about her dream to walk down the street in a beautiful dress and hat. 

 

All through the story, there is a love triangle that is intermingled amongst all the dance numbers.  Lawford is in love with Garland; Garland is in love with Astaire.  Garland thinks Astaire loves Miller; Astaire later realizes he loves Garland. 

 

In my opinion, the highlight of the film is Astaire's "slow-motion" dance routine.

Many thanks for taking the trouble of explaining the plot to me.

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Saw Throughbreds Don't Cry (yea, I was up late!),  and it was funny to see Elisha Cook Jr. as a jockey.    He didn't do much and only had a few lines.   Too bad he didn't get the bad jockey part but the director didn't know they had a really bad boy on the set back in 1937.

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 that was the ONLY garland film i was going to view that day.

 

as mentioned before, i only prefer judy's pre-oz material.

 

anyway, about the movie, i really enjoyed it.

 

judy's voice (she only sang one song) was raw and sounded great; and anatomically she still retained some wonderful baby fat.

 

and who was that ronald sinclair bloke?  he played a poor boy's freddie bartholomew.

 

and what was up with that scene where judy wanted to play post office, but rooney only wanted to 'sword fight' with sinclair.

 

Saw Throughbreds Don't Cry (yea, I was up late!),  and it was funny to see Elisha Cook Jr. as a jockey.    He didn't do much and only had a few lines.   Too bad he didn't get the bad jockey part but the director didn't know they had a really bad boy on the set back in 1937.

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 that was the ONLY garland film i was going to view that day.

 

as mentioned before, i only prefer judy's pre-oz material.

 

anyway, about the movie, i really enjoyed it.

 

judy's voice (she only sang one song) was raw and sounded great; and anatomically she still retained some wonderful baby fat.

 

and who was that ronald sinclair bloke?  he played a poor boy's freddie bartholomew.

 

and what was up with that scene where judy wanted to play post office, but rooney only wanted to 'sword fight' with sinclair.

 

Funny you mention that "ronald sinclair bloke".    I watched the entire movie thinking it was Freddie Bartholomew!   It wasn't until I looked up the movie today that I found out who it really was.

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In response to mistervegan's question:

 

"and who was that ronald sinclair bloke?  he played a poor boy's freddie bartholomew."

 

Freddie Bartholomew was originally supposed to be in Thoroughbreds Don't Cry, but his Aunt Cissy, who was his legal guardian, withdrew him from the production because of a contract dispute.  MGM replaced him with New Zealand child actor Ronald Sinclair.  Interestingly, there is a trailer clip for Thoroughbreds Don't Cry that TCM sometimes shows which features Freddie Bartholomew introducing Ronald Sinclair to American audiences.

 

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A Star is Born is starting (I'm on a delay from having paused The Clock a couple times); and in Robert Osborne's intro, he stated that upon its original release, the movie was hacked to bits in order to allow theaters to show the film more often.  This wasn't news to me, as I had heard this before and read about it in a Judy Garland biography.  However, he stated that original dialogue tracks have been located and some footage.  Osborne stated that in TCM's version, they're going to replace footage that they don't have with stills.  That should be interesting.

 

I've seen footage of the A Star is Born premiere.  I remember seeing a clip of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz being interviewed and Lucy expressed admiration for Judy. 

 

I have seen this before; but it's been quite some time, so this will be like watching it again for the first time as I really can't remember much about it. 

 

Does anyone know if any complete cut of A Star is Born exists? What about the Blu Ray that was released a couple years ago?

 

I think it's a shame that this film didn't revive Judy's career like she was hoping.  From all accounts, it sounds like the failure of the film at the box office and Judy not winning the Oscar was the beginning of the end for Judy Garland. 

 

I just read on Wikipedia that Cary Grant was director George Cukor's first choice; but he turned it down because he didn't want to work with Judy Garland.  Other choices were Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra but Warner Brothers said no.  Apparently Stewart Granger was also considered and even went as far as to act out some scenes; but he didn't like Cukor's directing style.

 

Sorry this post is so disjointed... this is more of a stream of consciousness post for me.

 

EDIT: Okay, so I just watched Judy's performance of "The Man That Got Away."  Wow.  That was amazing.  I do love me a good torch song and this was the torchiest torch song ever.  Loved it.  Definitely the highlight of the film so far.  I may need to get me another Judy Garland album that has this song on it.  Looking at the CDs available on Amazon, I think I may get Judy's 40th Anniversary at Carnegie Hall album.  That looks like the best one.

 

 

As far as I know, the complete footage has been lost. I think they have the complete soundtrack (dialog) They used that along with stills to fill in what had been cut (along with some refilmed footage they did for one segment). They did not reproduce all the cut footage, if I remember correctly, because they felt it would have been too long and static with just the stills. I think they should have. I wouldnt have minded...........

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As far as I know, the complete footage has been lost. I think they have the complete soundtrack (dialog) They used that along with stills to fill in what had been cut (along with some refilmed footage they did for one segment). They did not reproduce all the cut footage, if I remember correctly, because they felt it would have been too long and static with just the stills. I think they should have. I wouldnt have minded...........

In the version that aired on TCM Tuesday night, they filled in some spaces with sepia toned stills with what I assume was the soundtrack.  The pictures were interesting; but I found the quick transitions between film and stills somewhat jarring (that might be too strong a word; but I can't think of a milder one.  I wasn't "shocked" by them).  The stills seemed to only exist in the first half of the film. 

 

The film was good; but it was definitely long.  For me, the highlight was Judy's torch song-- "The Man That Got Away" and the end when she appears on stage and says "I am Mrs. Norman Maine."  I thought it was rather sad that she "won" an Oscar in the film; but didn't win one in real life for the film when I think she gave a very complicated and excellent performance. 

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terrific information, starliteyes.

 

i forgot to mention that sophie tucker was a delightful surprise in that movie.

 

i looked up her filmography, and unfortunately it's rather sparse (she only appeared in six other films).

 

well, i'll still try and find those few.

 

In response to mistervegan's question:

 

"and who was that ronald sinclair bloke?  he played a poor boy's freddie bartholomew."

 

Freddie Bartholomew was originally supposed to be in Thoroughbreds Don't Cry, but his Aunt Cissy, who was his legal guardian, withdrew him from the production because of a contract dispute.  MGM replaced him with New Zealand child actor Ronald Sinclair.  Interestingly, there is a trailer clip for Thoroughbreds Don't Cry that TCM sometimes shows which features Freddie Bartholomew introducing Ronald Sinclair to American audiences.

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In the version ( of A Star is Born ) that aired on TCM Tuesday night, they filled in some spaces with sepia toned stills with what I assume was the soundtrack.  The pictures were interesting; but I found the quick transitions between film and stills somewhat jarring (that might be too strong a word; but I can't think of a milder one.  I wasn't "shocked" by them).  The stills seemed to only exist in the first half of the film. 

 

 I thought it was rather sad that she "won" an Oscar in the film; but didn't win one in real life for the film when I think she gave a very complicated and excellent performance. 

 

Damn straight.

 

I think her best moment is in her teary dressing room breakdown scene with Charles Bickford, where she talks about how and hates her husband for his drinking, but she hates herself too "what makes a person want to destroy himself?" That is some real s***. And then she wipes the tears, fixes the make-up and goes back to the set and does retakes on Go Get That Long Face Lost. Amazing. (and all of us who have known someone with a substance abuse problem know what she's talking about.)

 

Personally (and I know I'm in maybe the minority) I think Warners was right to cut some of the scenes from the first third of the movie; it is a long film, and I don't know that they really add anything to the overall story (it's just a diversion.)

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