Thursday, June 10, 2010
Judy Garland's last musical for MGM was 1950's Summer Stock, in which Garland plays a fresh-faced farm girl who rents her barn out to a troupe of actors, so they can 'put on a show'. While plot-wise the film is a hoary cliche, in its execution it's a giddy comedy and something of a minor classic as well. Co-starring Gene Kelly (at the absolute peak of freshness), the leading couple are back up by a crew of seasoned veterans, including Eddie Bracken, Gloria DeHaven, Marjorie Main, and Phil Silvers; the film is also notable for Kelly's Newspaper Dance.
The scene in which Garland sings Get Happy was shot four months after the rest of the production had wrapped, and in the meantime she'd been in hospital and lost over twenty pounds, most of it as a result of a recurring liver ailment*. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most indelible moments of Garland's movie career.
*In addition to alcohol, Garland had long abused prescription medication, both of which cause bloating due to the inadequate drainage of bile over the long term.
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