The movie demonstrates what a trooper she was - and wasn't.
According to Gerald Clarke's biography of Judy - "Get Happy" - she thought the script was "crap." (Judy's pivotal scene in the movie which takes place in the hospital, however, wherein she unloads all her emotional baggage onto Dirk Bogarde, however, was written especially for her by Bogarde, whom she considered a friend; apparently, after filming the scene, the members of the production crew were all reduced to puddles on the floor because they could feel the bitter, stinging emotional truth in her words and knew it was coming from a real place.)
Filming proceeded like a trainwreck with Judy playing the role of "star" both on- and off-screen, arguing with the director, showing up late, etc.
Because her dressing room was not equipped with a bathroom/toilet (the way it was in the States), she allegedly always relieved herself in the wastebasket nearby.
That said, her performing on film is a wonder to watch. She shows the scars of all that bedeviled her, but, boy, she still exudes energy that transcends her haggard look. I think this movie is the one which set-in-stone her later concert "style" - which was to belt out and use her body to no end to embody the song while all alone in the spotlight. I don't know that any other female singers of the time had that kind of energy - and I think it was after this movie that many talented female singers - Barbara Streisand included - saw the value of such performative singing and incorporated it into their own identity.
"Don't call me 'honey', mac."
"Don't call me 'mac'... HONEY!"
That's the trouble - she ISN'T acting - she's just exploiting herself
in the lowest way. And she looks TERRIBLE, especially in her final
number. And anyone who actually buys that this piece of crud song
is on a par with topnotch Arlen is absolutely crazy. The lyrics are
absurd; the melody instantly forgettable. No wonder she never sang
it on her TV series or in concert.
I thought it was a good film, I loved the song By Myself.
I love Judy and I am glad this movie exists because it documents her later years. i feel like I was taken on the arc of what others have expressed as life with Judy: she is fascinating and charming but very demanding and tenacious to get what she wants. Later, she is self-pitying and raw and so needy. If it were me, I would have loved her and wanted to help her and later I would have been sick to death of her and wanted to get far away. By the end I was glad I watched it but relieved it was over.
Oh, I never knew that "I could go on singing" was followed by "'til the cows come home". Meh.
I'm not a huge fan of this film. It's really a pointless script. Nothing happens! She comes back to England, wants to adopt her kid and decides not to.
She had a great gift for comedy, she should have made the kinds of films Doris Day was making at the time. Why do all the great female comedians want to make melodramas?
She also looks bad in the film and I agree that the cows come home song isn't great. Judy's voice was never as good when she came back in 1960. She was still great but it got lower and rougher. Her vocal peak was the mid 1950's.
Open the door for Mr. Muckle!!
First, I'd say her vocal peak was the '40's. Secondly, she was in
great voice in 1960! Her "That's Entertainment" album from that year
is probably her best. She actually sang songs she'd never sung before
(instead of rehashing "It's a Great Day For the Irish" and "Over the
Rainbow"). Also, her Carnegie Hall album is still a stunning recording.
But by 1962 (beginning with the Frank and Dean special), her voice
started to get rougher and deeper.
And, yes, ICGOS is a terrible film and a sad way for her to have ended
her film career.
I guess it's a matter of personal taste. I love her 50's recordings best. The Star is Born soundtrack, Alone, some of the singles for Columbia. Perfect timing, I just saw End of the Rainbow at the Ahmanson in LA yesterday.
Open the door for Mr. Muckle!!
I enjoy her '50's recordings, but the albums vary. She actually sounds
somewhat intoxicated on several of the tracks for "Judy", and I don't
care for her "Come Rain or Come Shine" on this album. "Alone" is a great
album. Her voice is great in "A Star is Born", but somehow it's too
prematurely deep. She doesn't sound like a 31 year-old woman to me, and
while that's not necessarily a bad thing, her voice sounds deep due to
booze, smoking and pills.
I think her voice was at its most sparkling and beautiful from, say,
1942 to '46. Her power in her recordings for "In the Good Old Summertime"
is unbelievable, but her voice is also much clearer and far more
beautiful than in "Star." I also love her '40's radio recordings.
What hurts her Decca recordings is how dated the arrangements are. Her
vocal on "Journey to a Star" is amazing, but the orchestration...ouch.