Many decades ago, during “The Golden Age Of Hollywood,” beginning in 1924, a baby girl named Frances Gumm began her career by singing “Jingle Bells” on stage in front of a crowd of people with her older sisters. Sometime later, Frances’ family relocated to California, her mother and father organized a dance trope called “The Gumm Sisters” by performing on stage. A decade later, Frances changed her name as she’ll forever be called Judy Garland for the rest of her professional and personal career. Judy auditioned in front of co-founder of MGM, Louie B. Mayer. Impressed with her talent, Mayer offered her a contract to star in motion pictures, she accepted it, thus her career in Hollywood was just the beginning.
Judy primarily starred in Musicals with the late Mickey Rooney, they became close friends in a platonic relationship. Her popularity skyrocketed with her collaboration with Mickey. In 1938, Mayer ultimately offered her a role of a lifetime, to play the part of Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard Of Oz.” When the film was released a year later, the film became an instant classic forever cementing Judy’s status as an icon.
The 1940’s marked a transition for Judy, she’s no longer a little girl, she reached the peak of adulthood. During production of her other notable film, “Meet Me In St. Louis” she met Vincente Minnelli, they were happily married and Judy gave birth to Liza. Another decade later, Judy worked on another movie called, “A Star Is Born.” After a year of production, it became another milestone for her filmography which resulted in an Oscar nomination for “Best Actress.” Sadly, she lost to Grace Kelly.
By the time she was in her 40’s, her net worth, as well as her marriage to Sid Luft, began to crumble. In a last ditch to earn a paycheck, she starred in a variety show called, “The Judy Garland Show.” Unfortunately, it lasted for one season. A few years later, she became a wreck due to the fact that she owed money to The IRS. 1969 took a turn for the worse, Judy died from a prescription overdose as a result from all the stress she suffered throughout her professional and personal life.
In 1998, Judy’s second child, Lorna Luft, published a memoir about her late mother’s life called, “Me And My Shadows.” ABC adapted the book under the name, “Life With Judy Garland: Me And My Shadows.” The TV film aired in 2001, starring Judy Davis as Garland, & Tammy Blanchard as a younger Garland.
The film earned critical praise from critics and televisions viewers alike. It went on to become an eligible nominee at “The 53rd Primetime Emmy Awards” which resulted in Judy Davis & Tammy Blanchard , ultimately winning their awards for portraying the icon.
In response to recent news involving an upcoming remake of A Star Is Born starring Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga, along with a biopic called “Judy,” with Renée Zellweger, as Judy Garland, I’ve decided to watch this television biopic to prepare for the future.
This review contains SPOILERS. Let’s be honest, we all know what happened to Judy, the spoilers don’t matter to us all.
Positive & Negative Qualities
Positive: Judy Davis & Tammy Blanchad both did a wonderful job on channeling Judy Garland’s looks, appearance, and her beautiful voice.
Songs from Judy’s filmography are featured, you can’t have a biopic with Judy’s songs, if you’re making a movie about her life story.
The Opening Scene shows us viewers on how Judy began her career as an actress/singer. Her first song on stage was “Jingle Bells.”
Behind The Scenes recreation of Judy working on her iconic pictures.
Lorna Luft, (Judy’s second daughter) narrates the film. She also wrote the title book about her late mother.
Cinematography felt okay without any technical issues.
The closest thing to Judy’s Academy Award win, is a mini-award or as she called it, a “Munchkin Award.”
Familiar faces from Judy’s life including Mickey Rooney, Louie B. Mayer, Jack Warner, Lana Turner, Victor Fleming, Vincente Minnelli, Ray Bolger, (Scarecrow) Jack Haley, (The Tin Man) Burt Lahr, (The Cowardly Lion) & don’t forget her daughter, Liza Minnelli.
Speaking of familiar faces, Hugh Laurie, (Dr. Gregory House) appears as Vincente Minnelli.
If you wanna know how Judy became addicted to pills, you’re gonna be mortified on what drove her to addiction in the first place as not just a star, but a flawed human being.
Be surprised movie buffs, a scene with Judy & Mickey singing “Good Morning” in front of a crowd. This was way before “Singing In The Rain” made it more popular for the public. “Family Guy” also did a parody with Peter, Joe, Cleveland & Quagmire dancing & singing together.
Judy at first, was originally gonna star in a western musical called “Annie Get Your Gun,” unfortunately she was absent for a couple of days which resulted in replacing her with someone else.
In a desperate attempt to pay off her financial problems shoe owes to The IRS, dating back from The 1950’s, Judy’s last chance to earn a stable paycheck, is a variety show called The Judy Garland Show, sadly, it only lasted one season.
During a board meeting with several CBS producers on proposing an idea involving a variety show, Judy calls J.F.K. (yep, the former U.S. president) she sings “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” to him while producers react in awe.
Judy’s final years in the late 1960’s, is very depressing, she was broke, struggling to gather enough groceries for her kids, constantly moved to various locations, and her ongoing drug addiction, which lead to her untimely death, two weeks after her 47th birthday.
After a Flashback Montage of Judy’s life, the movie ends with her singing “Get Happy” to her kids as a representation of bidding a farewell to us audience members.
Negative: I couldn’t find any problems with this biopic, I have no choice but to give it an Extra Point.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
In my opinion, this was a very interesting biopic on her life. If you’re interested about late icon’s ups and downs, I strongly recommend it for y’all to get ready for the remake of A Star Is Born, and Renée Zellweger’s upcoming movie as Judy Garland.
R.I.P. Judy Garland, thank you for entertaining movie goers from the past and your unforgettable legacy continues to inspire actors, singers, and many many others in the current world of entertainment.