Thursday, September 6, 2007

A Judy Diversion.

I was prepared for my days to be suddenly very different, I was prepared to work hard, but it's still a shock. I'm either in class, reading, or studying almost every moment now (except when I'm hauling 40 pounds of books around town on my back). I was sitting in the student union building today (they call it the "Texas Union" because everything is Texas something here) -- there's a nice quiet study lounge where I spend quite a bit of time between classes -- reading, and I felt a sudden shiver of joy realizing that this is what I do now: sit around and learn stuff. And I'll be doing it for quite a while, years even.

Yesterday when I got home I really needed a break. It's been very humid this week, and of course it's always hot (Texas hot), so when I get home I just want to get dry. So I turned on my a.c. and watched a Judy Garland musical which had arrived several days before from greencine.com but I hadn't had a chance to watch it: Presenting Lily Mars. Whoever wrote the blurb on the sleeve called it "so-so" but judging from this writer's summary of the plot, he or she didn't even watch it, so... I know a lot of the MGM musicals are trash -- J won't even watch them with me anymore -- but I'll watch Judy Garland do pretty much anything.

The movie was full of cliches and over-the-top sentimental (of course) but I enjoyed it. Great musical numbers. And there's one scene that broke my heart, between Judy as Lily Mars, who moves to New York from Indiana with nothing but a suitcase and wants desperately to be a Broadway actress, and the charwoman (played by Connie Gilchrist, who has had a long prolific career, but I know her from Auntie Mame, in which she plays Mame's maid). Lily camps out in the theater, and the charwoman, mopping the stage, discovers her asleep in the orchestra pit. Well, it turns out Connie, when she was a young thing, also had Broadway dreams. Her dreams didn't quite pan out, but she loves the theater so much she'd rather be mopping the floor of one than be anywhere else. She sings a song called Every Little Movement, Judy joins in on the second verse and they sing in harmony and do a soft little shuffle across the theater floor in the dark. It got me.

The finale is pretty dazzling. It jumps forward to when Lily is a big star in her own big Broadway show. The number is about 10 minutes long, a big flashy dance medley. Wow. Judy delivers. Other highlights are Bob Crosby and Tommy Dorsey and their big bands.

1 comment:

Jay -or- Jay Byrd -or- James Dean Jay Byrd said...

At first I misread "She camps out in the theater..." I thought, "Well, duh, that's all Judy Garland ever does!"