Judy Garland and Orson Welles, in early 1945 are about to go into production on their films THE HARVEY GIRLS and THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI. They go to MGM producer Arthur Freed with the idea ... See full summary »
Judy Garland and Orson Welles, in early 1945 are about to go into production on their films THE HARVEY GIRLS and THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI. They go to MGM producer Arthur Freed with the idea of combining the scripts to create a new kind of film musical. Many great talents are assigned and the film goes into production. But something happened, and the film was stopped mid-production. What happened? We are told "Only the players know" by columnist Louella Parsons. Those players, Parsons in 1956 from her office, Welles in 1955 while working in Europe and Garland in 1954 on the set of A STAR IS BORN tell their stories about this unfinished holy grail of film history. Bits of the production are extant including a 1945 pre-trailer; a scene in Chinatown between the Garland character (Susan Bradley) and the Welles character (Michael O'Hara) for which only stills exist; a musical number with Garland, for which the sound has been lost and an alternate "film noir" ending written by Lillian Hellman.... Written by
In real life Judy Garland and Orson Welles had a short term love affair just before the time this story is set. They remained good friends thereafter. In the 1960s Jack Parr TV talk shows, Garland often told hilarious stories about Welles. The "Jackie Susan Show" section of this film is similar in tone to those TV shows. Louella Parsons' was a big Garland fan, but did not care for Welles as he had made the film Citizen Kane which painted an unflattering picture of her boss, William Randolph Hearst. In 1967, the time that the "Jackie Susan Show" is set, Garland had just worked with Jacqueline Susann (and been fired from) the film version of Valley of the Dolls. Though the Jackie Susan character here is fictional, she and the set for her show are definitely from the world of Susann. See more »
Three things stand out in this film: 1) It was written by some very bright people who happen know Hollywood history. As result their script is witty enough for anyone to enjoy, but has a special appeal to people who love old films and Hollywood lore; 2) It is beautifully directed and photographed. Each scene has a look of its own, to fit the era in which it was set. The production values are first rate. 3) The cast is excellent, from the smallest parts to the leads. Suzie Kane as "Louella Parsons" advances her theories with just the right amount of wickedness. Samm Hill is excellent as "Orson Wells" ---sounding and looking a great deal like the man himself. Woolsey Ackerman is brilliant as "Judy Garland". He obviously knows his subject well, as he gives us Judy at her most fragile and her toughest, with equal success. Congratulations to everyone involved in this film
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