Friday, February 7, 2014

Moving Pictures: Judy Garland in "Alone"

Last year, around this time of year, I believe I mentioned how I don't really place too much value on the Academy Awards. There have been too many flukes over the years and too many great talents and great performances ignored. The fact that some of my favorites actors and actresses are continuously ignored by the Academy drives me absolutely insane. Consider the fact that Alfred Hitchcock only won one Oscar (for Rebecca in 1940). And, while honorary Oscars are nice, often it is too little, too late. So, I'm going to oppose every other film blogger this month by writing about those who have been ignored by the Academy. And who better to start than Judy Garland?
Alone (Capitol Records,1957) detail 
I absolutely love Judy Garland. She was certainly one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century. Her vocal prowess and acting ability is only overshadowed by the magnificent scope of tragedy she endured during her life. Judy was certainly a victim of the studio system: addicted to pills and completely dependent on the opinions of others, she forces us to consider the price of true stardom. Because, despite all her problems, she was undeniably a STAR. But she was a star that the Academy ignored. For all my love of Grace Kelly, I cannot forgive the Academy for screwing Judy over in 1954 by passing over her performance in A Star is Born. But, I digress.
Judy singing "The Man that Got Away"
My favorite song from A Star is Born (1954)
I mentioned the tragedy of Judy Garland. I feel that despite all the love that her fans felt for her, all her popularity, she was incredibly sad and lonely. Which is one of the reasons that I love her 1957 album "Alone" (released by Capitol Records). It is an excellent selection of songs (sad, but excellent). But more importantly, it has an absolutely beautiful album cover. It is the gorgeous picture of Judy, looking very melancholy, standing all alone in the fog. It is poignant and so true to her. I feel that it reflects her own feelings about herself and that is fantastic. It captures her essence: her loneliness, her tentative nature, but most of all, her effortless beauty and elegance.
Alone (Capitol Records, 1957)
by Alex de Paola
I don't know much about the photograph, but I believe it was done by a photographer named Alex de Paola. I could be wrong, and if I am, please correct me. I really enjoy the photo and think that it is such a beautiful and fitting tribute to Judy.

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