Probing for the truth behind the Garland legend...
There's a tinge of sadness throughout this thoughtful, probing look at the life of JUDY GARLAND, a part of an "Omnibus" series that was shown on television in 1972.
Foremost among those who talk about the legendary star are two of the people who knew her close up and personal: her daughter, LIZA MINNELLI and director CHARLES WALTERS.
Liza tells about the sad/funny side of her mother about whom even she admits that there's a lot about Judy that she doesn't know. She only knows that from her standpoint, life was never dull when Judy was around because she was totally unpredictable. She tells how their lives kept shifting from one situation to another in rapid succession as Judy's fortunes either rose or sunk. But through it all, we see the love Liza had for her mother.
The other most detailed impressions of Judy come from Charles Walters, a man who directed Garland in a couple of films (EASTER PARADE and SUMMER STOCK) and was her dance director or choreographer on many others. He saw the tragic side of her insecurity due to studio pressure and the competition of very beautiful actresses at MGM to whom she always felt ugly by comparison. It didn't help that Louis B. Mayer called her "his little hunchback". He traced her addiction to pills to the pressures of performing that began when she was very young and kept very busy without a normal teen-age development. But he was sure that she loved performing, particularly during her concert tours where the audience returned all that love with deep affection.
Highlights from some of her best moments on film make this truly worthwhile to watch. There are wonderful clips from ZIEGFELD FOLLIES, THE WIZARD OF OZ, EASTER PARADE, THE PIRATE, THE HARVEY GIRLS, MEET ME IN ST. LUIS, SUMMER STOCK and later on, JUDGMENT AT NURENBERG and I COULD GO ON SINGING.
Less notable for their insight are comments from fellow actor Peter Lawford and Mickey Rooney, but DIRK BOGARDE and MORT LINDSEY (orchestra leader) have some very interesting comments to make without mincing any words. At the end of his talk, Bogarde admits that despite all her personal faults, Garland was "a genius" when it came to her craft.
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