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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Three Favorite Judy Garland Films
by Betty Jo Tucker

As I’ve mentioned before, my pick for the most remarkable personality in the history of motion pictures is Judy Garland. She could do it all -- sing, dance, act in comedies or in dramas -- better than anyone else before or since. And last night, my husband and I watched some scenes from Summer Stock which got me thinking about all the wonderful films she made in her remarkable career. Each time I watch one of Garland's many movies I'm amazed at her raw talent. So it’s hard to pick three favorite ones. But the offerings below represent my thinking at this point in time (in chronological order).  

THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). This classic movie may feature a Wicked Witch and scary flying monkeys, but the way young Judy Garland’s Dorothy Gale handles herself after a destructive tornado drops her into a strange world warms my heart. No one haunts my memories quite like Judy singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” And her humanistic interaction with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion makes her a role model to emulate. We all have a longing for home, so The Wizard of Oz always reminds me about the importance of family and friends. Everything about this magical motion picture comes across as timeless entertainment.    

EASTER PARADE (1948). MGM’s glorious musical starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire is sheer entertainment from beginning to end. It’s one of the films I enjoy watching over and over again. Garland and Astaire work wonders together as co-stars here. Judy’s comedy talent shines in several amusing scenes, especially when she makes men notice her while walking in front of Fred. These two mega-talented performers dance up a serious storm to “When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam” and then play goofy street urchins in “We’re a Couple of Swells.” Such different numbers -- and both done with perfection.   

IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949). In this colorful period musical, “irresistible” describes Judy Garland’s performance. She plays a spunky woman trying to make good in a new job while carrying on a “secret friend” pen pal relationship with an anonymous co-worker, portrayed by Van Johnson who does his best ever acting as Judy’s co-star.  The warmth of all the characters in this fun romantic comedy never ceases to surround me. And, of course, there’s Judy belting out “I Don’t Care!” which is one of the most exuberant numbers of her magnificent career.    

Judy, Judy! We still love you.

Your talent always seems brand new.

No matter what the critics say,

your shining star will ever stay.

Singing, dancing and acting too –

no one performs them like you do!

 

*****


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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