May 18, 2006

Juday Juday Juday

Okay, so Cary Grant never actually said the divine Miss Garland's name like that - at least not to his recollection - but I'll say it with equal fervor when praising the incredible PBS documentary on the sad songbird's life, the aptly titled Judy Garland: By Myself. TCM aired the in-depth look at her tumultuous private and public lives earlier this week, chronicling her immersion in show business at a precociously young age, her unprecedented popularity as a teenager in Hollywood, through her serious studio issues and several marriages on through her live shows in the 1960s. It is narrated with excerpts from Judy's own personal writings, which are seamlessly woven into voiceovers from famous contemporaries like Ann Miller, daughters Liza Minelli and Lorna Luft, and Judy's ex-husband Sid Luft; the result is a beautiful and multi-faceted look at a legend in a most humanizing and honest light. The film clips of Judy's legendary concert performances of the 1960's alone are worth the watch, but I found the entire two-hour piece captivating. It isn't completely comprehensive, but it is a deeply personal piece and a highly-recommended portrait of Judy Garland, be you new fan or long-time fanatic.

You can find more upcoming portraits of your favorite performers in the PBS American Masters series, or search for them in Turner Classic Movies' extensive database.