Judy Garland: the world’s greatest entertainer

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The Hollywood showbiz legend that was Judy Garland is dominating culture sections of newspapers and magazines right now, thanks to Renée Zellweger’s Oscar-worthy performance in a movie biopic that’s causing a sensation – Judy.

Whilst the film takes place in the winter of 1968, when an older Judy arrives in London to perform at The Talk of the Town, let’s look back at the films in Judy’s heyday, including the enduring classic that made her a household name!

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A Star Is Born

George Cukor’s remake of the original 1937 movie is a magnificent melodrama of epic proportions starring Judy Garland alongside James Mason, both at the height of their powers. A Hollywood movie star with a drinking problem is entranced by an aspiring singer's performance. He falls in love with her and helps her develop her talent, but as her star rises, his falls into ruin. Judy lost out on the Best Actress Oscar to Grace Kelly, causing Groucho Marx to declare: "It’s the biggest robbery since Brink’s!"

 

Meet Me in St Louis

Vincente Minnelli’s 1944 vintage MGM musical delivered timeless and dazzling songs including Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The Trolley Song and Skip to my Lou. A banker is debating whether to accept a tempting job offer, which would mean uprooting his close-knit family to New York. Everyone is upset at the idea of leaving their friends, particularly teenager Esther (Judy Garland), one of four daughters, who is romantically involved with the both next door.

 

I Could Go on Singing

Judy Garland’s final film role saw her star alongside Dirk Bogarde, Jack Klugman and Gregory Phillips. She plays Jenny Bowman, a celebrated singer who tops the bill at the London Palladium. But behind her onstage success, Jenny is embroiled in a bitter struggle to win custody of her son from her estranged husband David. Songs include I Am the Monarch of the Sea, Hello Bluebird, By Myself and It Never Was You.

 

Easter Parade

MGM’s fabulous seasonal musical, directed by Vincente Minnelli, stars Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Ann Miller and Fred Astaire. After a dancer is abandoned by his regular partner, he trains a chorus girl to step in. The new partnership is a great success but, although he set out to keep their relationship strictly professional, he finds himself falling head over heels in love with her. Songs include A Couple of Swells, Stepping Out with My Baby and Shaking the Blues Away.

 

A Child Is Waiting

John Cassavetes’ fascinating and controversial drama stars Judy Garland, Burt Lancaster and Gena Rowlands. Dr Matthew Clark runs a boarding school for children with learning difficulties known for its no-nonsense, tough love approach. When Clark recruits former concert pianist Jean Hansen as the school's new music teacher, despite her complete lack of teaching or nursing experience, she quickly forms a bond with one of the children, the severely autistic Reuben, much to Clark's concern.

 

The Wizard of Oz

Last, but most definitely not least, the movie that made Garland a household name is also probably the most beloved fantasy family film of all time! Directed by Victor Fleming in 1939, it’s the timeless story of Dorothy who is swept away from her home in Kansas by a tornado and transported to the magical land of Oz with her dog Toto by her side. Judy Garland won an Oscar Juvenile Award in 1939 for her role, which she nicknamed the Munchkin award!

 

Browse through our collection of Judy Garland films on DVD and soundtracks on CD.

 

Click here for even more musicals!

 

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