Dad of Divas' Reviews: Liza Minnelli Screening on TCM Today

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Liza Minnelli Screening on TCM Today

“Liza Minnelli has a perspective about Hollywood unlike anyone else,” says Osborne. “She is an Academy Award®-winning actress with parents who both were also Oscar winners (Judy Garland in 1939 and Vincente Minnelli in 1958). Her playground was soundstages, where she watched her parents and other film icons work, so she has insights into their world, which became her world. Her story is at once fascinating, dramatic and touching and has never been extensively told before. We’re very excited to be able to devote two nights to celebrating the lives and work of this extraordinary family.”

Among the memorable films slated to air Dec. 11 and Dec. 14 in conjunction with PRIVATE SCREENINGS: LIZA MINNELLI are Cabaret (1972), An American in Paris (1951), Gigi (1958), The Pirate (1948) and an Essentials screening of Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), hosted by Robert Osborne and Alec Baldwin. Also featured on the schedule are The Clock (1945), Madame Bovary (1949), The Bad the Beautiful (1952) and Home from the Hill (1960); the 1987 documentary Minnelli on Minnelli; and the TCM premieres of Vincente Minnelli’s final film, A Matter of Time (1976), and the dance drama Stepping Out (1991).

Liza Minnelli was born in 1946 and wasted little time in getting in front of the camera. She appeared in the 1949 film In the Good Old Summertime, starring her mother. She was then seen as a wedding guest in the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz comedy The Long, Long Trailer (1954), directed by her father. But unfortunately her scenes wound up on the cutting-room floor. Blossoming into a vibrant young woman, she co-starred in Albert Finney’s Charlie Bubbles (1967), followed by The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), which earned her an Academy Award nomination; Tell Me that You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970); and Bob Fosse’s Cabaret (1972), which earned her the Oscar for Best Actress. Minnelli’s subsequent film credits include Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York (1977); the comedy blockbuster Arthur (1981); and, most recently, Sex and the City 2 (2010). Minnelli is equally famous for her energetic stage and television performances in such concerts as Liza with a “Z” and Liza’s at the Palace.

Judy Garland is known worldwide for her memorable performance as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939). She got her start as a child performing with her sisters in Vaudeville, followed by a contract at MGM. It was there that she made nine films with Mickey Rooney. After 15 years at MGM, during which time she starred in such classics as The Harvey Girls (1946) and The Pirate (1948), she was released from her contract. Turning to music fulltime, she began a recording and concert career that included a now-legendary performance at Carnegie Hall, as well as a critically acclaimed television series. In 1954, she enjoyed a Hollywood comeback with her Oscar-nominated performance in A Star Is Born. But personal problems and a prescription drug addiction took their toll. Garland passed away in 1969 at the age of 47.

Vincente Minnelli was only on his fourth film when he directed Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). The two were married the following year. Minnelli soon became one of Hollywood’s top musical directors, directed Garland again in Till the Clouds Roll By (1946) and The Pirate (1948). Following their divorce in 1951, he continued to enjoy tremendous success, with a long line of hits that includes An American in Paris (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), The Band Wagon (1953), Brigadoon (1954), Kismet (1955), Lust for Life (1956), Bells Are Ringing (1960), The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963) and The Sandpiper (1965). He won the Best Director Oscar for helming the Best Picture winner Gigi (1958). Minnelli passed away in 1986, shortly after being awarded France’s highest civilian honor, the Commander Nationale of the Legion of Honor.

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