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Presenting Lily Mars (1943)
Actually, One of Her Best
First of all, she never looked better... sort of the apotheosis of all that evil energy MGM spent in turning Frances Gumm into Judy Garland. Blondish (and not a wig), thin (but not too thin), energized and comic (working her mannerisms rather than the reverse), and she sounds great. Moreover, Hollywood and Tarkington were made for each other, and the payoff works here as well. Clever americana, with truly inspired set pieces surrounding Judy's attempts to get "discovered" by "local boy makes good" producer, Heflin.
The tacked-on, mega-production ending is a real clunker and can leave a bad aftertaste. Avoid the ending if you can pull yourself away. But for this grandiose, ill-fitting finale, an almost perfect Garland musical and as good as she gets (which is the best singing actress ever to grace the screen).
One more point in Garland's favor: she plays the perfect "straight man" in two comic scenes with her on screen younger sister. Given Garland's reputation, let alone the instincts of any actor not to be upstaged, one can't but admire her generosity. Her self-confidence and generosity in these scenes make the film that much funnier and stronger.
The Chapman Report (1962)
pure delicious trash, should be on dvd
you can't get better late 60's than this one: neophyte fonda, madame shelly, glynis johns, and claire bloom as "the nymphomaniac".
a wonderfully vivid, most-fun foto of ugly 60's misogynism.... the moment just before we found out that we're all nymphomaniacs.
jane struggles, shelly sniffles, glynis gurgles, and claire tears it up. the movie, in retrospect, is soooo gay. directed by cukor incidentally.