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New launch is a reminder of Judy Garland’s artistry and vocal prowess : NPR


On the event of what would have been Garland’s a hundredth birthday, Warner Bros. has been re-issuing her movies on Blu-Ray; classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz critiques the latest launch.



TERRY GROSS, HOST:

That is FRESH AIR. This yr marks the centennial of Judy Garland’s delivery. You might have watched a few of her movies when she was star of the month on the Turner Traditional Films channel. Warner Brothers has been reissuing her movies on Blu-ray. Our classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz goes to assessment the latest of these new releases.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BUT NOT FOR ME”)

JUDY GARLAND: (Singing) They’re writing songs of affection however not for me. A fortunate star’s above however not for me. With like to paved the way, I’ve discovered extra skies of grey than any Russian play might assure. I used to be a idiot…

LLOYD SCHWARTZ, BYLINE: Judy Garland’s poignant rendition of “However Not For Me” was the excessive level of Busby Berkeley’s 1943 model of the 1930 Gershwin musical “Woman Loopy,” not solely as a result of she’s in such lovely voice, however as a result of she appears to be singing fully with out artifice. From the very starting of her profession, audiences discovered Garland so lovable due to her uncommon emotional honesty. The one movie I do know during which she really sings badly is Ziegfeld Woman from 1941, and he or she does it on function. Within the story, her father is a retired vaudevillian who coaches her to punch out each music, and he or she’s terrible till she lastly follows her personal unerring instincts. She demonstrated these instincts in 33 characteristic movies, 30 of them musicals, earlier than her loss of life on the age of 47. This yr, the centennial of her delivery, Warner Brothers has been reissuing a variety of her movies in gorgeously restored Blu-rays, becoming a member of such beforehand launched classics as “The Wizard Of Oz,” “Meet Me In St. Louis,” “Easter Parade” and “A Star Is Born.” These new additions additionally reveal that her most exuberant songs have been pretty much as good as her tender ones as a result of her pleasure of singing is so real as within the title music from her first movie with Gene Kelly. It is his very first film, and he or she generously provides him the melody whereas she sings impeccable concord.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “FOR ME AND MY GAL”)

JUDY GARLAND AND GENE KELLY: (Singing) The bells are ringing for me and my gal. The birds are singing for me and my gal. All people’s been understanding to a marriage they are going. And for weeks, they have been stitching. They have been stitching one thing outdated and one thing new so – one thing that’s blue to allow them to make a trousseau for my gal. They’re congregating for me and my gal. Look right here why. That is the parson ready for me and my gal. And someday, we’ll construct somewhat house for 2.

GARLAND: (Singing) Or three.

GENE KELLY: (Singing) Or 4.

GARLAND: (Singing) Or 5.

KELLY: (Singing) Or possibly extra.

GARLAND AND KELLY: (Singing) In love-land for me and my gal.

SCHWARTZ: One in every of Garland’s most underrated movies is “The Harvey Women,” a 1946 Technicolor musical Western. The most effective-known music is Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren’s “On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe,” the one Garland music after “Over The Rainbow” to win an Oscar. It begins as a novelty quantity, with Garland’s practice pulling into the station. Nevertheless it would not cease increasing till it turns into a type of American epic. On the climax, Garland and all the ensemble, with their arms rotating like pistons, virtually flip into the practice itself because it leaves for components even additional west.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “ON THE ATCHINSON, TOPEKA AND THE SANTA FE”)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: All aboard.

GARLAND: (Singing) All aboard.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) We got here throughout the nation lickety-split, rolling 90 miles an hour match to be tied (ph).

GARLAND: (Singing) I can not imagine I am right here ultimately.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Once you go touring, it is natch (ph) so that you can At (ph), Tope (ph), to Santa Fe (ph).

GARLAND: (Singing) I can not imagine that every little thing would go so quick. Then you definately…

JUDY GARLAND AND UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) …Pull that throttle. Whistle blows. A-huffing and a-puffing and away she goes. All aboard for Californ-I-A…

GARLAND: (Singing) …On the Atchison…

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) On the Atchison…

GARLAND: (Singing) On the Atchison, Topeka…

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) On the Atchison, Topeka…

GARLAND: (Singing) On the Atchison, Topeka and…

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) On the Atchison, Topeka and…

GARLAND AND UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.

SCHWARTZ: The 1950 musical “Summer time Inventory” was Garland’s final movie for MGM, her firm since she was an adolescent. It is about Gene Kelly desirous to placed on a present in Garland’s barn, which she vehemently resists. It was a interval of nice turmoil for her with dramatic fluctuations in her weight and her skill to carry out. Her main quantity was added months after the remainder of the movie was accomplished. Abruptly, she was 20 kilos thinner and had traded her dishevelled farm overalls for a fitted tuxedo jacket and a tilted black fedora. She seldom regarded extra refined or glamorous. The music she selected was Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler’s nice revivalist tune from 1930, “Get Completely satisfied.” It appeared like recommendation she was giving to herself.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “GET HAPPY”)

GARLAND: (Singing) Overlook your troubles. Come on, get completely happy. You higher chase all of your cares away. Shout hallelujah. Come on, get completely happy. Prepare for the judgment day. The solar is shining. Come on, get completely happy. The Lord is ready to take your hand. Shout hallelujah. Come on, get completely happy. We will the promised land. We’re heading throughout the river to scrub your sins away within the tide.

SCHWARTZ: I am undecided that any of those musicals are amongst Garland’s finest movies, however they embrace a few of her best work. And every of them reminds us that Judy Garland was not only a legend, however a significant and indispensable artist.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “GET HAPPY”)

GARLAND: (Singing) Overlook your troubles. Come on, get completely happy. Chase your cares away.

GROSS: Lloyd Schwartz is the poet laureate of Somerville, Mass. His most up-to-date ebook is known as “Who’s On First?: New And Chosen Poems.” It is printed by the College of Chicago Press. He reviewed new Blu-ray editions of Judy Garland musicals launched by Warner.

Tomorrow on FRESH AIR, I am going to discuss with Congressman Adam Schiff about serving on the Home committee investigating Jan. sixth and having led the primary impeachment of Donald Trump. We’ll additionally speak about Schiff’s memoir, which has simply been printed in paperback with a brand new afterword. It is known as “Midnight In Washington.” I hope you will be part of us. I’m Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “GET HAPPY”)

GARLAND: (Singing) Prepare on your judgement day. Come on, get completely happy. Chase your cares away. Shout hallelujah. Come on, get completely happy. Prepare for the judgment day. Solar is shining. Come on, get completely happy. Lord is ready to take your hand. Hallelujah, come on, get completely happy…

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