Judy Garland's Last Film Revisited

Categories: Film

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The 1963 melodrama I Could Go On Singing was given a showing at the IFC Center last week as part of Ira Sachs and Adam Baran's series of monthly events, Queer/Art/Film.

And I was stunned to see the film's parallels to Judy's own life.

Judy plays a wildly successful singer who goes to London to perform at the Palladium, as she herself had done just three years earlier.

At one point, in the midst of a personal crisis, she passes out drunk, and admits she'd had enough martinis "to float Fire Island."

As in The End of the Rainbow, a male love interest forces her to stand up and get to the concert hall and perform.

(In this case, the man is her ex, played by Dirk Bogarde, who of course was gay in real life and sometimes played gays onscreen.)

The film, by the way, starts with Judy's character visiting him and leaving with a prescription!

And when the two of them go to see their son in a show, it turns out he's in full drag!

I could go on writing, but let me just say that Judy is terrific as herself--I mean Jenny Bowman--and her climactic scene in the hospital is one of her finest works of acting.

Heather Matarazzo presented the film and fully agrees.

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3 comments
musto
musto moderator

PS: I just learned that some years ago, Todd Solondz wanted to remake this film starring Liza in her mother's role, but Liza declined.

blissbaby
blissbaby

Thanks for this remembrance. Astonishing.

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