Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Liza and Judy... and those men.

 New York, New York,
directed by Martin Scorsese,
is deemed a "musical drama film" with original Kander and Ebb selections
and standards of the 1920s and 30s.
Scorsese did it right after Taxi Driver
with a budget of $14 million.

 It starred Liza as singer, Francine Evans,
and Robert DeNiro as Jimmy Doyle...saxophonist and band leader.
Some nice musical moments, but the reviewers tanked it 
and the audience didn't come.
Scorsese suffered depression (and drug problems)
after the rank reception.

 A Star Is Born, 1954, was called Judy's Comeback
(she hadn't made a movie in 4 years) and it was a stunner;
she was nominated for Best Actress, and everyone thought her a shoe-in.
A camera crew was sent to her hospital room
where she was recovering from the birth of her son, Joey,
to capture the moment (and her live acceptance speech) should she win.
But the award went to Grace Kelly for Country Girl...
a steal that Jimmy Durante would call
"the biggest robbery since Brink's."
Director George Cukor originally wanted Cary Grant to co-star,
but Cary was set on traveling with his wife
and didn't trust Garland to reliably hold up her end of the film.
Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, and Stewart Granger
were all considered for the role,
but James Mason was ultimately signed.
Cukor had to put up with a very unstable leading lady,
with chemical dependancies, weight gains, and mood swings.
And half way thru production, 
they decided to shoot the thing in Cinemascope,
which meant scrapping everything and starting from scratch.
The movie was considered a box-office disappointment:
It cost over $5 million to make, and did not recoup its cost.
But the critics and audiences loved it.
Time Magazine said that Garland
"gives what is just about the greatest one-woman show in modern movie history." 

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