Nobody ever said that Judy Garland was easy to work with. “I Could Go On Singing” either manages to prove this fact, or shows that Ms. Garland was a far better actress than anyone ever gave her credit for. The hard working, charming, plucky Judy from, well, more or less any of her musicals is replaced with a hard drinking, manipulative, selfish, self-loathing and utterly self-absorbed Judy who just happens to have an incredible voice for belting out the classics.
‘I Could Go On Singing' isn't a bad movie, exactly, but there's just not a lot to it other than Judy drinking too much and acting like a monster when she doesn't get her way. There's very little dialogue, and most of it is of the “Nobody understands me” variety. We get concert footage of Judy, a helicopter trip with Judy, a walk through the lovely English countryside with… you get the picture.
The film is rescued by the fact that the sparse dialogue is surprisingly well written in a cold, sulky kind of way, and the cast is excellent. Dirk Bogarde manages to look commanding and disapproving (especially icy in the early scenes), and the young actor playing her son manages to do it without being too cute. Neither could upstage Garland in full ‘star' mode, and neither tries.
This is a bare bones release, in full frame and oddly non-anamorphic letterboxed format, with the original theatrical trailer. And unless you're a Garland fan, there's not much to recommend it outside of grim curiosity. Whether Garland played herself or not is still up for debate, but if she's playing her own stereotype, she's doing a damn fine job.
© 2004 Michael John Derbecker
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