Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Here She Comes!

Jose here.

There are few things I enjoy more than "discovering" a new performance by an artist I adore. Such was the case last night when I screened The Harvey Girls for the very first time. I have always known Judy was adorable and could sing like nobody on the planet has since her. What I loved to see this time was her marvelous entrance performing the Oscar winning song "On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe".
The whole town seems to know what's coming in the petite package and they all come to greet her in the kind of musical extravaganza only Arthur Freed delivered.

When they sing:

Do yuh hear that whistle down the line?
I figure that it's engine number forty nine,
She's the only one that'll sound that way.

You can't tell whether they're talking about the locomotive or Judy...

Was anyone better at singing on board moving trains (or trolleys)?

Have you recently discovered a wonderful performance from the back catalogue of an artist you love?


Anonymous said...

Ava Gardner in Night of the Iguana = phenomenal!

Unfortunately, the rest of the film leaves much to be desired. My fave performance of hers has to be in The Killers, though.


I am both happy and ashamed to say that i have at least two more performances left to discover from ALL of my favorite actors.

Judy is bliss.

Anonymous said...

Consider yourself lucky, Nat. I've actually put performances on the back-burner before just so I'd have something to watch on my requisite bad days. Imagine being 50 years late to the Leigh / Streetcar party!

What can I say? Great acting is my crack cocaine.

billybil said...

I love, LOVE, LOVE!!! the Atkinson number! When they start moving their arms like the wheels of a train I just glory in old-fashioned movie "choreography"! And when she holds on to the pole and leans out and sings she's the cutest thing since apple pie! I'm a little jealous of someone getting to see that for the first time. I'd like to see it for the first time every week!

TB said...

As glorious as this Judy moment is, it is not the best part of the movie. The best part of the movie is clearly when Angela Lansbury shows up as the (dubbed!) town floozy. Fantastic.

OtherRobert said...

Gosh, this was a strange period for musicals. To think this wasn't the only Western musical clanged out by Hollywood back then. This, in particular, is such a long and varied song to weave into a Western landscape.

As for older performances, I didn't just discover Juliette Lewis in What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, but it did finally click through my thick skull that she was the girl in that film.

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

I recently saw Barbra Streisand for the first time in The Way We Were. Of course I loved Funny Girl, but kinda hated everything Barbra did after that. I also knew that she had famously bitched about Glenda Jackson getting her second Oscar for whatever that lightweight rom-com was. Oh, I just remembered, A Touch Of Class.

I had seen that Glenda Jackson performance and considered it only okay, but I thought Barbra must have just been her usual diva self.

Well, now I have to say I agree with Barbra. Her performance in The Way We Were was almost iconic. And the scene where she gets into bed with Redford (when he's asleep) was just heartbreaking. Oh, and Barbra looked better than she ever has, before or since. Yeah, I guess she was robbed, but then, it happens all the time.

Sam said...

I just recently saw The Manchurian Candidate again for the first time in years. I was reminded of how cold-blooded and chilling Angela Lansbury was. Never for a moment did she try to make the audience love her like they wanted to. And when she kissed her son? There are no words.


Dave -- totally. i would have given her the Oscar for that probably (if i recall the competition correctly). FUNNY GIRL is one of the best debuts of all time and THE WAY WE WERE is its equal, acting-wise.

too bad Barbra got so serious about herself because for that first decade: total screen magic.

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

Nat, I even think that Barbra's music suffered from the same "malaise" as her movies. When Barbra was able to take control, everything kind of went downhill. She seems to do her very best with very strong collaborators who can keep her on the "straight and narrow." ;-)

BUT I have thought that her last couple of albums have shown a real relaxation and some spontaneity. Time for some great director to take a chance with her again? I've longed for Woody to take her on, but how about someone superstrong and borderline crazy? David O. Russell perhaps?