THE PIRATE PART 2--JUDY GARLAND ON FIRE!
One of the unfortunate side effects of the camping up of Judy Garland by her 'followers' is that we've lost sight of her as the truly luscious, sexually alluring female star that she was in her heyday. Judy as bombshell simply sounds perverse now--either we think of her as Dorothy in pigtails (or whatever her hair was in "Wizard") or we think of the later, stage-bound, cigarette and vodka drag-queen idol. But in her youthful maturity (1942-50) Judy was also just a helluva hot dame. Minelli, her second (or third?) husband was clearly in love with her through a lens--it's in "Meet Me In St. Louis", "The Clock" and "The Pirate" (all of which he directed) that the camera gazes at her the most lovingly. And she, in turn, gets naked in these movies in a way she simply doesn't when being directed by Charles Walters.
This past summer, I had the opportunity (briefly) to work on a pitch for a movie about Judy's life--her best biographer, Gerald Clarke, also wrote the Truman Capote bio that "Capote" was based on and the idea was to take a thread from his Judy bio and fashion a similar sort of bio-pic. I spent a lot of time studying her life, her movies etc. and thought of writing a movie based solely on her marriage to the great thug, Sid Luft--the man who produced her finest movie "A Star Is Born" and who, one way or another, helped resurrect her career from mothballs after MGM fired her in 1950. (This bang-up idea--wouldn't you like to see such a movie starring, say, Hilary Swank as Judy and Vince Vaughn as Luft?--died stillborn as ABSOLUTELY NO COMPANY IN HOLLYWOOD EVINCED THE SLIGHTEST INTEREST IN EVEN HEARING SUCH A PITCH. Eyes rolled, calls went unreturned. We do, alas, live in the era of "Spiderman 3"). In any event, I had the pleasure of speaking with Gerald Clarke on the phone and he said something that I found very true and very haunting. "Everybody thinks they own Judy. Everyone thinks she belongs to them." I dont know another star who you can say something quite that broad--and yet accurate--about.
Below is my favorite number from "The Pirate", "Mack the Black". The nice youtuber who posted it graciously left in the long but necessary lead in--the number begins almost four minutes into this eight minute clip. Judy is electric in this, pulsating with desire and sexual energy...and the kiss with Kelly at the end reaches well past the usual boundries of MGM family entertainment of the time. I don't think the word "Macoco" got nearly as much play again until last year when that unfortunate Senator used it to insult a dark-skinned journalist and was promptly retired from public life as a result. What was that Senator's name, anyhow?...
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 10:46 AM