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5 classic Judy Garland moments to prepare you for Judy

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Renee Zellweger is drawing serious Oscar buzz for her performance in Judy, in which she embodies Hollywood legend Judy Garland.

The movie delves behind the glamour and fame of the Wizard of Oz icon, exploring the loneliness, drug addiction and heartache that blighted her later career.

Zellweger has been praised for delivering an empathetic portrayal, and she impressively performs all her own singing. Ahead of Judy's release this week (don't forget about our Judy Cineworld Unlimited screening tonight), here are five classic moments from Garland herself to get you in the mood.

1. 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' – The Wizard of Oz (1939)

We have to start here. The complicated making of this groundbreaking Hollywood fantasy embodies the contradictory emotions of the Hollywood 'Dream Factory', with everything from the drunken munchkin actors to scalding make-up effects seemingly derailing the project even before it reached the big screen.

However, the resulting masterpiece, gliding from the sepia tone of the real world to the glorious Technicolor imagination of Oz, broke new ground in cinematic ambition. Yet it's the central presence of Garland as Dorothy that grounds everything – with her perennial gaze of wide-eyed wonder, she's nothing less than a stand-in for the audience.

And her signature number, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow', catapulted Garland to mega-stardom. It won an Oscar for Best Original Song and came to encapsulate thwarted dreams and aspirations the world over.

Zellweger's quavering rendition in Judy has been the subject of much acclaim. Writes Sara Stewart in the New York Post: "No matter how well you know 'Over the Rainbow,' you may never hear it as heartbreakingly performed as Zellweger sings it here."


2. 'The Trolley Song' – Meet Me in St Louis (1944)

The troubled Garland once claimed that Meet Me in St Louis was the only time she ever felt beautiful on-screen. It's a remarkable and heartbreaking admission, but there's no denying she's as vivacious and likeable as ever in Vincente Minnelli's musical classic.

The film is drenched in opulent primary colours that radiate the warmth and glamour of Hollywood's golden age. The centre-piece is 'The Trolley Song', which cleverly offsets Garland's dour black attire against the brightly hued trolley passengers.

Despite this, it's Garland who continues to hold our gaze throughout, revealing it's the inherent charisma of the star, not what they're wearing, that arrests the attention. (Note as well how she's the only passenger not wearing a hat, allowing her vibrant red hair to stand out in the midst of a busy scene.)

Composers Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane were Oscar-nominated for this rambunctious number (performed by Zellweger in Judy), but lost out to 'Swingin' on a Star' from Going My Way.



3. 'Easter Parade' – Easter Parade (1948)

It's a feast for both the senses and the emotions in this lavish musical melodrama. Garland teams with fellow icon Fred Astaire for a stirring experience set to the music of Irving Berlin, and the title number has gone down in history as one of her finest cinematic moments.

Garland plays Hannah, the new dancing partner of Astaire's veteran Don Hewes, and the two actors' chemistry sparkles throughout. The movie was a significant box office success and won the 1948 Oscar for Best Original Score.



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4. 'The Man That Got Away' – A Star is Born (1954)

Lady Gaga won the plaudits at this year's Oscar ceremony (although not, as it turned out, the Oscar itself), but the soulful and expressive Garland got there long before she did.

This cautionary tale of the perils of fame was the second of (to date) four takes on the Star is Born story. Garland's take is considered by many to be the best, the epitome of Tinseltown glamour in which she portrays ingenue Esther opposite James Mason's impresario Norman Maine.

Production was troubled, not least because of Garland's personal problems, but the movie went on to become a critical hit. Yet because of its $6 million cost (hefty in Hollywood for the time), it failed to make a profit – instead, its reputation has gained in stature over time.


5. Irene's testimony – Judgment at Nuremberg (1962)

Garland's appearance in this sombre account of the post-World War II Nuremberg trials is a fine example of counter-casting. Devoid entirely of glamour, denied the chance to perform any singing, and realised as part of a crisp, sterile black and white canvas, Garland excels as Holocaust survivor Irene.

The movie boasts one of the most impressive casts of any Hollywood movie in the 1960s, including Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster and Marlene Dietrich. But it's Garland's fiercely contained performance, playing as a woman whose eyewitness testimony could change the course of history, that resonates long afterwards.

Demonstrating another side to her talents (would that she had done more films like this), Garland received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Click here to book your tickets for Judy and tweet us your favourite Judy Garland moments @Cineworld.