Judy Garland: TCM Greatest Classic Legends
Judy Garland was arguably the greatest show business phenomenon of the 20th century. Coincidentally, the new " TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Judy Garland" features four musicals with storylines that deal with some aspect of show-biz. And Judy dazzles in each.
The set includes the underrated, 1942 backstage, musical, "For Me and My Gal." Judy is a vaudevillian who climbs to the top with her partner/lover, in spite of several obstacles, including WW I. The soundtrack brims with period ditties, and affords Judy the opportunity to sing, dance, and play comedy as well as drama. She is stupendous, and is supported by handsome Gene Kelley in his first screen role, as well as George Murphy and operetta star Martha Eggerth (still making appearances these days at age 101!) The indispensable extras contain two early MGM shorts, including "Every Sunday," which first introduced Judy and Deanna Durbin to the public.
Judy remains in period costume for the charming 1949 "In the Good Old Summertime," in which she is employed previewing songs in a music store. Her antagonistic co-worker, Van Johnson, turns out to be her romantic pen-pal. Gorgeous Technicolor photography, numerous pop standards, and a colorful supporting cast help a good deal; though the film does not measure up to the original comedy on which it was based, Lubitsch's "The Shop Around the Corner," Judy and Gene were partnered again the following year in "Summer Stock." The pleasant musical has farm-owner, Judy loaning her barn to a theater troupe, and falling for its director, Kelly. She is not at her best here, but that is still pretty damn good; and the movie features a great supporting cast, eye-popping Technicolor, and one of Judy's most acclaimed musical numbers, "Get Happy."
The collection concludes with another Technicolor spectacular, and one of Judy's unsung finest, "The Harvey Girls." Set in the Old West, Judy joins a group of Harvey House waitresses, finding romance with the nearby Saloon owner, sexy John Hodiak, and competition from tough-girl Angela Lansbury. Marjorie Main and Ray Bolger add to the fun. The film includes another of Garland's legendary production numbers, "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe."
All the DVDs are supplemented with film shorts, commentary or trailers. The picture quality is excellent throughout, and, with Judy Garland as the featured "legend" one could hardly go wrong!
TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Judy Garland