Watching the opening scenes of Susan Lacy's magnificent documentary in which a black and white sequence shows us Judy Garland singing "By Myself" shows a vulnerable woman giving her all to a song that expressed how, perhaps, she felt at that time of her brilliant, but short career.
Judy Garland had it all; she was a natural. From the start, she clearly demonstrates what a tremendous talent she had. In those early vaudeville film clips we watch a bubbly girl who could charm anyone who was lucky enough to be in the audience. She was destined for greatness, and yet, as we see in this sad account of her life, everything conspired against her.
When Ms. Garland arrived at MGM, she was put under contract and was given all the privileges. She was sadly given medication to make her sleep, as well as for waking her up. She was a commodity that the studio exploited as it saw fit. After all, she was making tremendous amounts of money for MGM. This, in the long turn, ruined her life because the drugs created a dependency she was never able to shake.
The film helps illustrates how everything conspired against Ms. Garland in some of the choices she made, as was the case with "A Star is Born". The film that had all the right elements going for it, proved to be one of the things that broke her spirit, at a time when she needed all she could to make it big, after having left MGM. George Cukor and Ms. Garland were made for one another, yet, Warner Brothers decided to chop the film, perhaps robbing her of an Oscar she deserved.
CBS didn't do better for her. Her variety show was an excellent program, but because of the time slot, it never got the ratings that were expected. The cancellation of the show was a mortal blow to her heart. Judy Garland's descent into the end of her life is one of the saddest things in the history of show business.
In a way, watching the opening number kept reminding us of another tragic singer, Edith Piaf. Both Judy Garland and Ms. Piaf, knew despair, and loneliness in their short lives.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?