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Movies and Methods: The Judy Garland Seminar (FILMSTUD 490)


Judy Garland, an icon of American popular culture, was one of the most accomplished performers of her time. Both a mainstream star and a gay cult figure, Garland's career straddled film, recording, live performance and television. From childhood, her life was lived in the public eye and her personal travails were as well known as the characters she incarnated on screen ¿ in fact, her biography informs some of her later film roles. Her seeming naturalism was a function of fierce discipline. Garland's work in this period occurs primarily in two genres: musical comedy and melodrama (and what we might call the melodramatic musical). Some of her best films were directed by two of the foremost studio directors ¿ Vincente Minnelli and George Cukor ¿ intersections of star, genre, and director will inform the seminar, as will explorations of Garland's work on television and the concert stage. Acting and performance have been prominent in cinema throughout the medium's history, but have received relatively little attention in film studies. A course dedicated to Judy Garland proposes, first, that we attend to the centrality of performance in film, and, further, that the work Garland produced across three decades demonstrates not only a coherence and consistency, but also a variety and richness, that merits close examination. The seminar would be useful to students in American Studies, Art History, Film Studies, Music Studies, Theater and Performance Studies, as well as Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Course ID: 
205 510
Letter (ABCD/NP)