Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows

Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows

4.8 7
Director: Robert Allan Ackerman

Cast: Judy Davis, Victor Garber, Hugh Laurie

     
 

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From her gradual ascent to stardom in the 1930s to her death from a drug overdose at age 47 in 1969, former vaudeville baby Frances Ethel Gumm, aka Judy Garland, endured a string of personal and career ups and downs that continues to color her reputation as an icon whose tragedies outweighed her triumphs. This TV biopic, based on the first half of daughter Lorna… See more details below

Overview

From her gradual ascent to stardom in the 1930s to her death from a drug overdose at age 47 in 1969, former vaudeville baby Frances Ethel Gumm, aka Judy Garland, endured a string of personal and career ups and downs that continues to color her reputation as an icon whose tragedies outweighed her triumphs. This TV biopic, based on the first half of daughter Lorna Luft's book Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir, attempts to humanize Garland's legend by presenting the singer/actress' story from an insider's point of view. Tammy Blanchard plays the young Garland, an MGM contract player with an overbearing mom (played by Marsha Mason) who helped push her daughter to stardom -- and, along with studio boss Louis B. Mayer (Al Waxman), into a lifelong addiction to booze and barbiturates. From her early performances alongside Mickey Rooney to her breakthrough role in The Wizard of Oz, Life With Judy Garland paints the performer as a sweet kid who just wanted to please her mother, especially after the death of her gentle, beloved father (Aidan Devine). Australian actress Judy Davis takes over as the grown-up Garland as the film traces her five marriages, exile from MGM, countless film and stage comebacks, and crippling addictions. The film's final section concentrates on the home life of Luft, her brother Joey, and their half sister Liza Minnelli, as the kids and their broke mom moved from one hotel to another and Luft nursed Garland through depressions and binges. Life With Judy Garland premiered in February of 2001 on ABC, earning Emmy awards for both Davis and Blanchard.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - R.J. Wafer
Singing at full voice and aiming somewhere over the rainbow, Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows succeeds as not only a tragic celebrity tell-all but also as a loving portrait of a showbiz mom hard pressed to balance the emotional demands of work and maternal duties. This wonderful film biography depicts one of Hollywood's favorite tortured souls with deep affection and is based on accounts from the memoir by Garland's second child, Lorna Luft (Me and My Shadows), and the film's executive producer. Judy Davis is perfectly erratic in the title role, and newcomer Tammy Blanchard shines as Garland in the earlier stages of her life. Emmy voters recognized both the dynamic performances with awards: Davis as a lead actress, Blanchard in a supporting role. A story of forgiveness and hope, of love and its limitations, the three-hour film pays special attention to the bond between Garland and her father, as well as the strength and unconditional love she drew from her children. Additionally, the movie affords a close look at the starlet's formative years at MGM, replete with star-molding efforts echoing 1954's more optimistic A Star Is Born. There are engaging re-creations of vintage Garland screen moments, including wide-eyed early numbers alongside Mickey Rooney (featuring Garland's original singing) and her immortal Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. These joyous highs punctuate the tumult behind the scenes, including her failed marriage to director Vincente Minnelli (Hugh Laurie) and the battles with drug addiction that eventually took her life. Despite an unquestionable affection for its subject, Me and My Shadows is never less than honest about the tolls of stardom and the bonds of family.
All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
Actresses who play other actresses convincingly are few and far between, but the producers of this hit biopic found not one, but two who could pull it off. The main reasons to watch Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, then, are the wide-eyed, pitch-perfect innocence of Tammy Blanchard and the gradually more ravaged, but still powerful, countenance of Judy Davis. Some of the credit goes to Pamela Roth's stunning makeup design, but even so, both actresses slip into Garland's skin with uncanny precision and emotional power. As for the film itself, it's a fairly standard-issue TV biopic that compresses epic struggles into iconic moments and ties it all together with neat voice-over narration. Marsha Mason stepped out of retirement to play Garland's troglodyte of a stage mom, but she doesn't get enough screen time to register fully. Neither do the many other fine performers called upon to embody everyone from director and husband Vincente Minnelli to frequent co-star Mickey Rooney. The memoir on which the film is based actually splits its time between Garland's story and that of its author: her daughter, actress and singer Lorna Luft. With the exception of the voiceover, Luft's own history is mostly excised -- but so is that of Liza Minnelli, Garland's other, more famous daughter. What remains is an episodic, though sympathetic and humanizing, treatment of a larger-than-life career and the woman behind it. Even viewers who remember Garland chiefly as a childhood icon will want to catch Davis and Blanchard's performances, but they may end up wanting to learn more than Life With Judy Garland tells them.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/29/2012
UPC:
0096009782498
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
NR
Source:
Miramax Echo Bridge
Time:
3:08:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Judy Davis Frances Ethel Gumm, AKA Judy Garland (as an adult)
Victor Garber Actor
Hugh Laurie Actor
Emma Pill Young Lorna Luft
Tammy Blanchard Young Judy Garland
Marsha Mason Actor

Technical Credits
Robert Allan Ackerman Director
Mary V. Buck Casting
James Chressanthis Cinematographer
Dan Davis Production Designer
Dody Dorn Editor
Susan Edelman Casting
Robert L. Freedman Producer,Screenwriter
Ed Gernon Executive Producer
Tina Gerussi Casting
Dona Granata Costumes/Costume Designer
Garret Kerr Sound Editor
Lorna Luft Screenwriter
Dave Mace Co-producer
Neil Meron Executive Producer
William Ross Score Composer
Pamela Roth Makeup
John Ryan Producer
Peter Sussman Executive Producer
Phong Tran Sound Editor
Craig Zadan Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows
1. Chapter 1 [9:59]
2. Chapter 2 [10:00]
3. Chapter 3 [10:00]
4. Chapter 4 [9:59]
5. Chapter 5 [10:00]
6. Chapter 6 [9:59]
7. Chapter 7 [9:59]
8. Chapter 8 [10:00]
9. Chapter 9 [14:06]
1. Chapter 1 [9:59]
2. Chapter 2 [10:00]
3. Chapter 3 [9:59]
4. Chapter 4 [10:00]
5. Chapter 5 [9:59]
6. Chapter 6 [10:00]
7. Chapter 7 [10:00]
8. Chapter 8 [9:59]
9. Chapter 9 [10:00]
10. Chapter 10 [3:39]

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