Who doesn’t love the magical “Over The Rainbow” by the immortal Judy Garland. Her voice is as magical as the first time I saw her singing in The Wizard Of Oz, a movie as timeless as the song.
Can you believe that was first released in 1939?!?! That is 80 years ago and it’s still my favorite ever musical and easily in my top 10 films of all time. It’s just one of the greatest films ever made, period. And I’m not a fan of musicals.
The whole black and white Kansas and then switches to color in Oz… just such an awe-inspiring film. I need to rewatch this again soon so I can be a child all over again. It’s that powerful. Without Judy Garland in that film, it’s not the same and, sadly, her treatment during the filming appeared to be something out of a horror film (or not).
So, what do we know and don’t know about JUDY the film:
- Renee Zellweger, age 50, spent two hours in the makeup chair transforming into Judy Garland
- Zellweger has been singing in movies for over 20 years and, yes, she is taking on the daunting task of covering Judy Garland on such seminal tracks as “Over The Rainbow”
- Rupert Goold directs. He is best known for extensive directing the stage.
- Film is based on Peter Quilter’s musical “End Of The Rainbow” which primarily covers the one year before Garland’s death at age 47 (!!!!) in 1969 where she played a series of sold-out shows.
- Zellweger tried to reach out to Liza Minnelli, Garland’s daughter, for research in the role via a mutual friend, but was unsuccessful
- Liza Minnelli has released a statement on her Facebook that says she “does not sanction” this film about her mother.
- Zellweger spent two years with Judy in her head, listening to music, preparing for this role and it brought her repeatedly to tears
And just for a cool article aside, the believed to be last living actor — and she was merely an extra — that was in The Wizard of Oz, 98 year old Meredythe Glass, opines what it was really like hearing the amazing Judy Garland sing:
Meredythe Glass was just another green lady from Oz. As she quietly chatted and laughed with her fellow Oz residents, their faces smeared with greasepaint to stand out under the harsh studio lights, this “beautiful music” began. Judy Garland started singing “Over the Rainbow,” and the Oz residents fell silent. Everyone fell silent. And when it was over, the applause was deafening. “It would not stop,” said Glass.
Judy Garland died at age 47, and would be 97 years old if she were still alive today, just about the age of Meredythe Glass. Imagine what more music, movies and magic we could have had if she had lived?
We’ll have to settle for dreaming what lies over the rainbow … and arrives in theaters everywhere September 27.