We must be over the rainbow ...!
February 29, 1940
This diminutive statuette is the only Oscar Judy Garland was to receive.
“Getting the Oscar was the most sensational moment of my career [up ‘til then]. The lump in my throat was so big when I sang ‘Over the Rainbow’ that I sounded more like Flip the Frog than the most excited girl in all of Hollywood. And I’ll never forget how Mickey came to my rescue. I thought I would faint. He practically held me up through the second chorus!”
As many of you folks know, actors break down complex sequences they are asked to perform without interruption into
beats. That is part of their craft. And it makes what may at first seem an impossible task into a series of shorter events that the working actor can accomplish. It’s a little like negotiating a difficult maneuver in a sports event, or in a marathon—
From A, I know how to get to B. Then, C is in sight, and if I keep my wits about me, I can make it to C. Now . . . — carefully . . . ! I can get from C to the end of the scene. That’s my objective. Easy, now . . . made it!
As you watch this wonderful clip from For Me and My Gal, ask yourself about the “work” Judy Garland is doing. How many beats does she hit, as she moves from her entrance on-stage to the finale? We count five (not to count what she brings about within a beat).
If you rent the movie and study Judy Garland’s performance, you’ll understand what the character is feeling in this sequence. But even without knowing the backstory, it is impossible not to admire the precision with which this consummate performer “hits her marks.”
She worked that all out. Beforehand. For us.
Add For Me and My Gal to your film library.
The perfect amalgam!
Classic melody, lyric, vocal arrangement, orchestration, singing, dancing, staging, and performance.
This is the young woman who'd been convinced by her studio that she was unattractive; yet those who assembled the number on her behalf knew otherwise, and everything is done to make Judy the object of admiration, desire, veneration, and joy.
Just as she could be in real life—as entertainer, mother, co-worker, friend, companion.
It's all prime stuff: the innovative dance patterns, the use of the camera, the fluidity of music and instrumentation. And it's carried off as well as it is simply because it's Judy Garland doing it, at the center of it. No one else could have made it work quite so excitingly, beautifully, or effectively.
Add Girl Crazy to your film library.