In 1985, 16 years before her memoir became the basis for the television film Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, Lorna Luft narrated this documentary focusing on her mother's "second career" following her years at M... more »GM. The 59-minute retrospective (reduced from its original 90 minutes) collects comments from family and colleagues, shows clips from concerts at the London Palladium, Carnegie Hall, and the Palace Theater, a previously unseen 30-second scene cut from her famous comeback film, A Star Is Born, and scenes from her short-lived TV show. Not surprisingly, some of the footage spotlights Garland's affection for her kids: she shares the stage at the Palladium with Liza Minnelli and appears with Lorna and Joe Luft at the Palace and sings to them on her TV show. And while many of the songs are shown only in brief clips, there are a number of complete performances, including a duet with Barbra Streisand of "Get Happy" and "Happy Days Are Here Again," her dramatically charged rendition of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" following JFK's death, "Ol' Man River," and "The Man That Got Away." And of course "Over the Rainbow" is here, in a 1955 performance that is the only TV recording of how she performed the song in concert: sitting on the edge of the stage, face-to-face with the audience. And it's a credit to Garland that even in hobo makeup, she lets the raw emotion of the song pour through. --David Horiuchi« less
dbphoenix | Phoenix, AZ United States | 12/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw this show on PBS back in '85, I didn't have a VCR, and after I got one, I looked forward to the day when the show would be made available on tape. When it finally did become available, I was pretty ticked to find out that a third of it had been cut (who knows why).When the DVD came out, I was a bit reluctant to buy it because it was so inexpensive. I figured that all that had been done was to transfer the tape to DVD. But, for the money, why not? Tapes don't last forever. So I went ahead and gave it a shot.I am both surprised and pleased, therefore, to announce that the DVD is in fact the complete broadcast, just shy of 90 minutes, not just a transfer of the tape, which is only 59 minutes, and the quality is everything you'd expect from a DVD.Understand, though, as has been noted in other reviews, that this is called The Concert Years for a very good reason: the emphasis is on Judy's concert performances, not her movie roles. Therefore, there are very few movie clips. Likewise, this is not a biography, though there is a fairly liberal sprinkling of biographical material along with archival footage that you probably will not have seen elsewhere (such as her first appearance on film at age 7).Unfortunately, very little was filmed of her concerts. It is amazing to me that, given the popularity of TV by the mid-fifties, it never occurred to anybody to capture some of these performaces, not just on television, but on broadway (imagine having a professional film of the Carnegie Hall performance). Therefore, the "concert" footage used is mostly from her television show which, granted, did try to recreate to a large extent the concert experience and did run during the middle of her concert years. However, with only a couple of exceptions, whoever put this together exercised excellent judgement and chose those performances which show Judy at her best, e.g., Ol' Man River, Chicago, Smile, As Long As He Needs Me. And, yes, the DVD is worth buying just to get her "little tramp" performance of Over The Rainbow, performed in concert. The point of the whole thing is to show how Judy performed in front of a live audience, and the DVD does just that.This is the real deal, all almost-90 minutes of it. And there's stuff here you won't find anywhere else. Highly recommended."
Judy is at the peak of her form in this compilation
dbphoenix | 05/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Judy Garland's legendary television series produced some of her best filmed performances. This collection of songs selected from the television series focuses on the material she most often performed in live concert. It shows Miss Garland at the very top of her form--excellent voice, well recorded, nicely filmed in black and white, and with the able assistance of her musical director with whom she worked for years. Judy seems happy and excited about her performances, moving from up-tempo numbers to heart warming ballads in a way no one else has shown us. Unlike the television show, there is no "filler" here--just great performance after great performance. It is a gift to lovers of great singing that these filmed recordings exist. This video should be added to the collection of any admirer of Miss Garland's work."
JUDY GARLAND- THE DEFINITIVE CONCERT COLLECTION!
Sean Orlosky | Yorktown, IN United States | 06/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Judy Garland soars again in a marvelous, hour-long compilation of some of Garland's latter-day concert and television performances. For those who wonder what made Judy Garland one of the most beloved singers and icons of all time, this collection will be a bright and phenomenal discovery, and for those who already adore Garland, they are blessed with marvelous memories through this show. Affectionately narrated by Garland's daughter Lorna Luft, and including on-screen bits with Garland's third husband Sid Luft, son Joe Luft, critic Rex Reed, colleague Tony Bennett, and Melissa Manchester. Manchester describes Garland singing as "the thrill of a lifetime" and she is fully justified. You'll see the dynamic Judy Garland belting out numbers like "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody", "Swanee" (in color!), an emotional, glorious "Ol' Man River", the heartbreaking "As Long As He Needs Me", and crooning her trademarks "The Man That Got Away" and "Smile". You can tell that Garland is putting all her heart, and all her passion into her singing, and it is never more evident than when she sings "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (as noted in the show, in memoriam of the recently assassinated JFK). To hear Garland's rich, indescribably glorious, anthemic rendition of "Battle Hymn" is enough reason to buy this tape, as is just about every number in the show.And there are some delightful guest shots, too: there is footage of Judy singing with daughter Liza Minnelli at the London Palladium, and very rare clips of her singing at the Palace in 1967, with accompaniment of her children Lorna and Joe Luft. She sings tributes to each of her children, her warm voice caressing the lyrics of "Liza", "Happiness Is Just A Thing Called Joe", and "Lorna", which Luft narrates with special tenderness. And there are delightful clips of Garland's television series: She dances with Donald O'Connor, belts with Ethel Merman, and included in its entirety is her outstanding duet with a young Barbra Streisand of "Get Happy"/"Happy Days Are Here Again". Also included is an amusing solo rendition by Garland of her famous number from "Easter Parade", "A Couple of Swells".But the greatest performance of all is the final one on the tape, and as Lorna Luft notes: "There's one song that truly belongs only to my mother..." It is, of course, "Over the Rainbow", and its emotional delivery is made all the more poignant by Garland being costumed as a dirty tramp, crying as she sings, reaching for a greater goodness through the song, to triumph over all. That performance of "Over the Rainbow" is the most moving performance of any song that I have ever heard in my life. As Lorna says warmly: "I think what Judy Garland loved most of all was that people wanted to hear her sing... and they always will." A very true and loving tribute, to one of the most brilliant performers who ever lived. I can say "Mine eyes have seen the glory" from hearing Judy Garland sing, and I hope you will, too."
Judy Garland: The Concert Years (The Best Ever!!!!!!)
HOYTE | MURFREESBORO, TN United States | 11/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Without question this is the best video of her concert years that I have ever seen, and I have seen them all. Originally this video was 90 minutes long and has been cut to 60 minutes. Why I don't know. Maybe someday the original from 1985 will be resirected. Her rendition of "Old Man River" will completely desolve you into tears. The final song "Over the Rainbow" will leave you completely spent. I highly recommend this to every Garland fan. It's a must for every library."
Great Film... Buy the DVD, not the VHS version
HOYTE | 04/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a big fan of Judy Garland, and this is one of my favorite Judy films, even though this was made in 1985, long after she passed away. Hosted by Judy's daughter, Lorna Luft,this movie overviews her career from 1951-1969, also known as "The Concert Years", and shows performances from The Judy Garland Show, The London Palladium, Carnegie Hall, and The Palace. They show parts of scenes from her movies, including "A Star is Born" and "Till the Clouds Roll By", but the film is mostly highlighting her concerts and TV years; not her movie career. (Extra on the DVD includes the A Star is Born premiere) The affection for her three kids are indeed shown in this film; performing with Liza at the London Palladium, and singing to her younger children, Lorna and Joe, on her TV show is also a great part of the film. Some other stars that shared the stage with her in this movie are Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman, Bob Newhart, Danny O'Connor, and of course Liza Minnelli. Some musical highlights are "The Man that Got Away", "Ol' Man River", "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (on her show after JFK was assassinated), "Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy" (with Streisand), "Chicago", "Smile", "Get Happy", "You Made me Love You", "The Trolley Song", "For Me and My Gal", "Swanee", "San Francisco", and many others. And of course, her signature "Over the Rainbow" is there, filmed from her 1955 TV special, and the only existing film of Judy as she performed her song for hundreds of concerts; sitting on the edge of the stage, singing her heart out, tears on her cheeks, in her "little tramp" outfit. Extras are commentary by friends and family such as Sid Luft, Lorna Luft, Joe Luft, Tony Bennett, Mort Lindsey, and others. This is definitely a must have for any Judy Garland fan."