Having watched this for the third time, it kills me to think what Jusy Garland went through to amuse and entertain us. Judy got the applause and the studios got the money and the public was entertained, but at what price? Would Judy have been better off being a waitress in St. Paul Minnesota married to the corner pharmacist? Would she have traded the stage for a normal life free of the pills and drugs that fueled her and ultimately led her to an early death? You keep asking yourself, was she ever really happy? Watch the pictures of her with her babies and it sure seems she would have been very happy just being a mom.
I love bio documentaries such as these because you see more than just what is on the screen or read in People magazine. This is a pretty good doc though some things are left out or underplayed (her father and husbands sexual orientation) but you can always read a Garland biography for those details; books don't give you the film clips the show does.
Louis B. Mayer gets the bad guy treatment. But would MGM have been as successful as it was without Mayer making the decisions he did? Would the movies we all love have been as good as they were without him? Yes, Mayer did not always have the best interests of the talent in mind, but again,is this the price of success?
Sonmeone like Bette Davis was strong enough to fight the studio system and win, but Judy, being younger and dominated by her mother and Mayer, never was strong enough to stand up for what was best for Judy. But like Bette, she never seemed to know how to pick a husband. If anyone needed the safety net of a good marriage, it was Garland.
The saddest part for me was when she got fired from Annie Get Your Gun. The studio was pushing her so hard that she eventually cracked. MGM bled her dry and then blamed her for not being a bottomless tank of gas.
Isabel Keating does a great job impersonating Garland, reading from Garland's own writings. Since Garland never got to publish her autobiography, this is the closest we get.
For anyone that questions what Judy had, this is a good primer. The great nature vs. nurture debate gets a big vote for nature since Judy caught lightning in a bottle with her talent but her sisters never were close to her level.
When she dies at the age of 47 (47 for goodness sake) she left behind a legacy of entertainment that is unmatched by anyone over such a relatively short time. But if her goal was always to entertain us, are we partly responsible for her early death? Would we give up her movies and songs if it meant she would have lived a normal and long life? Rest In Peace, Judy.
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