We must be over the rainbow ...!

 

Judy Garland’s performance carries one song from The Wizard of Oz into music history. In 2001, “Over the Rainbow" was voted the top song of the 20th century, according to a survey by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America.
 
Other musical numbers from Oz are more set pieces, tied to events in the story. They evoke the movie rather than the music.
 
But there are countless iconic moments in Oz, whether they're rooted in the songs, the special effects, or the performances. Much of the dialogue is unforgettable as well; on a daily basis, it's paraphrased everywhere from sitcoms to sermons. Dorothy's first words after she's crossed over into a multi-colored, fairy tale world can be—and have been—used by anyone, anywhere who seeks to express awe and wonder.
 
Click on the movie screen - The Wizard of Oz - above and follow Dorothy as she begins her miraculous twister tale. And then—come back here to learn how Hollywood's technical wizards conjured up a tornado using everyday household goods — and a dollop of imagination!


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Galand with an Oscar

 

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.


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"Embraceable You"

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.


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