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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Could Go On Singing (1963)

A famous American singer (Judy Garland) performing in London seeks out her ex-lover (Dirk Bogarde), now a successful physician. Many years ago, they had a child out of wedlock which she turned over to the father and his new wife to raise. But now she wants to see the child (Gregory Phillips) and bring the boy back into her life against his father's wishes. This minor soap opera was directed by Ronald Neame (PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE) but what elevates it into something special is Garland's tour de force performance. Selfish, vulnerable, neurotic, lonely, an emotional train wreck. All the trademarks of how the real Garland is perceived by the public, almost bordering on a parody of herself but never crossing the line. Her scene with Bogarde at a hospital emergency room packs a wallop and shows that if she had never sung a note (and thank God she did!), she still would have been a great actress. She also performs three thrilling numbers in her inimitable style. It would be her final film and it's an apt tribute to the great lady herself. The Panavision lensing is by Arthur Ibbetson (WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCHOLATE FACTORY) and Edith Head doing Garland's wardrobe. The cast includes Jack Klugman and Aline MacMahon.

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