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From ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to ‘A Star is Born’: Celebrate Judy Garland’s birthday

“Somewhere over the rainbow” . . . When you hear the verses of the famous movie song, what name comes to your mind? Judy Garland, of course! The star that gave life to the little girl Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz would have turned ninety-nine years old today.

Born Frances Ethel Gumm, the Grand Rapids, Minnesota star rose to fame on a vaudeville show with her sisters, who went on tour with the Gumm Sisters spectacle. This caught the attention of MGM executives, who offered her a contract to work on the studio’s movies. While she starred in a couple movies before her breakout role, her journey down the yellow brick road is how most of us remember her. 

Judy Garland was not only a great actress, but an awesome singer & dancer, too. And she sure uses all those skills in her movies. And, with that being said, let’s take a look at some of Judy Garland’s best works in film.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

We can’t start talking about Judy Garland without diving into her most famous movie, The Wizard of Oz. Filmed all in set, this classic takes place in rural Kansas, when a little girl named Dorothy gets taken by a tornado to the Land of Oz, where she meets the munchkins. Then they follow a yellow brick road to see the wizard in the emerald city, where he will guide her home.

Judy Garland’s character and her other friends, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow, embark on this classic journey full of adventures, as the Wicked Witch of the West tries to ruin the trip and capture Dorothy and her friends. 

Fortunately, there’s a happy ending, as Dorothy exclaims when she wakes up in her own bed in Kansas: “There’s no place like home!”

A Star is Born (1954)

This is perhaps Judy Garland’s second-most famous movie, as this became a showcase of all her talents as an entertainer. In A Star is Born, Judy Garland gives life to Esther Blodgett, a new Hollywood star that gets more prominence after getting some help from another actor.

A Star is Born has a number of musical features and intricate dance numbers as well, showing a contrast of Judy Garland’s true & natural talents with the phony atmosphere that lingered on the Hollywood of the past.

With that in mind, Judy shook off the sentimentality of her early years in the business, providing her fans with a chance of showing she was a true entertainer in every possible way.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Through the years, Judy Garland showed us that she was not only capable of doing funny, entertaining movies, but she could hold her own in dramatic roles as well. And there’s nothing greater than acting in a film that portrays the aftermath of one of the world’s darkest periods.

In a recreation of the famous judgment, which brought many Nazi German officials into trial for war crimes, the movie brings Judy Garland in the role of Irene Hoffman. The character is a German woman that testifies about the a miscegenation case that involves an elderly Jewish man during the Nazi years.

Her testimonial started meekly, but it evolved into tears as the character progressed with the talking, while the prosecutor cross-examined her. Judy was on the screen for only fifteen minutes, but the role landed her an Academy Award nomination for best actress in a supporting role. 

As you could see, Judy Garland was a true star of her time, and has definitely paved her way into becoming an eternal movie star. Her talent and work can’t be forgotten, so let’s watch her movies and celebrate her legacy.

What do you think of Judy Garland’s movies? Let us know in the comments.

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