Judy Garland: Madame Crematante

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Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#1
Posted: 2/23/08 at 12:17am
The campiest thing she ever did. A 10-minute musical sketch from Ziegfeld Follies, written by Kay Thompson and Roger Edens and directed by Chuck Walters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi5CWo6uDTw

They all just have had such fun doing it. The chorus boys included.
Updated On: 2/23/08 at 12:17 AM
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#2
Posted: 2/23/08 at 12:27am
She looks gorgeous!
"Be on your guard! Jerks on the loose!"

http://www.roches.com/television/ss83kod.html

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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#2
Posted: 2/23/08 at 12:34am
I have to say though...it kinda reminded me of Christine Ebersole doing "Hominy Grits" in Grey Gardens!
"Be on your guard! Jerks on the loose!"

http://www.roches.com/television/ss83kod.html

**********

"If any relationship involves a flow chart, get out of it...FAST!"

~ Best12Bars
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#3
Posted: 2/23/08 at 12:35am
That she does--'44 to 46 was her most beautiful period.
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#4
Posted: 2/23/08 at 12:45am
staged by Chuck Walters, filming directed by Vincente Minnelli
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#5
Posted: 2/23/08 at 9:37am
filmed so gorgeously!!!
who *wouldnt* fall in love with judy?!??!

she seems to be channelling bea lillie in places!
i want to make thngs that count
- George, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#6
Posted: 2/23/08 at 2:02pm
Minnelli was in on the writing a tiny, little bit. The arm first entrance bit in the beginning was his idea. IIRC there are six cuts in the entire piece and none once she starts her rap. It take strong material, a strong performer, and a film director who recognizes it and knows how to capture it without interruption in order for that to happen.

Minnelli had worked with both Bea Lillie and Kay Thompson on Broadway in the 1930s.
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#7
Posted: 2/23/08 at 3:27pm
The piece is so flagrantly gay in sensibilty that it's a little unnerving to thing of Vincente whooping along with Roger, who was gay, and Kay, who was gay--right there in front of Judy.

As much as I learn about the Garlands and the gays, I still can't quite imagine out what Judy knew about Vincente.

Or did the fact that they were physical enough to produce one child "neutralize" his otherwise flamboyantly pre-Stonewall behaviors?

Or were her rumored relationships with Kay and other women in her life a replacement for physical intimacy during their marriage?

What did Judy think of Vincente's sexuality? It's a mystery to me.
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#8
Posted: 2/23/08 at 3:45pm
expound on "gay in sensibility" - isn't that a stereotype as much as any other?

and was Kay gay?

why is there this incessant need to label people's sexuality?

Updated On: 2/23/08 at 03:45 PM
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#9
Posted: 2/23/08 at 5:08pm
is this the same revue format film where she does the "washing dishes" number as a blonde? Wasn't that number a tribute to Ruth Etting or someone like that? the woman who starred in SUNNY?
just keep swimming along, don't rise to the....
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#10
Posted: 2/23/08 at 5:17pm
No, this is from Ziegfeld Follies. The number you're thinking of is from Till the Clouds Roll By. Marilyn Miller was the woman played and Look for the Silver Lining was the dishwashing song. Till the Clouds Roll By was Judy's film appearance while she was pregnant with Liza.

Madame Crematante was filmed during the brief period Judy and Vincente had broken up prior to getting back together and getting married.
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#11
Posted: 2/23/08 at 5:21pm
thanks YAWPER you just moved "Clouds" onto my Netflixx list. I knew there was "more to the story" about that number but couldn't remember the details. I should have known the difference between Ruth Etting and Marilyn Miller, sorry about that It's a great sequence. They should do a compilation DVD of Judy's cameos in various revue-format movies....
just keep swimming along, don't rise to the....
Updated On: 2/23/08 at 05:21 PM
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#12
Posted: 2/23/08 at 5:33pm
There was indeed a pre-Stonewall gay sensibility, a whole code, in fact, by which gay men communicated with each other. Much of the code, but certainly not all of it, was based in "camp," and camp was celebrated through the appreciation of outsize female personas, like Dietrich and Garbo and Bankhead and Crawford and Davis, outsize emotional displays like romantic popular songs and Hollywood movies. You can read Susan Sontag's "Notes on 'Camp'" below for the throughline to Hollywood and mid-century popular music from Oscar Wilde and the novels of Ronald Firbank and Ivy-Compton-Burnett.

Gay liberation in the 1970s made this code more or less unnecessary, but vestiges still remain, in older gay men and even in young gay and transgendered men like Chris Crocker. But there is no code necessary for gay men to communicate.

When Cole Porter inserted references into songs in the 1930s and 40s about "Sappho-ho" or George Raft's bull being gay, he was playing with the code.

Madame Crematante was written directly in this vein, from the chorus boys singing and acting in unison to Garland's exaggerated diva character.

This is something that Roger and Kay would have enjoyed. (Yes, Kay was a lesbian.) They were both adept at using bits and pieces of camp and other aspects of that code in their work for Broadway, nightclubs and Hollywood.

And Vincente certainly created more than his share of camp creations over the years, at Radio City and at MGM--and if the stories of his wearing eyeshadow are to be believed, he even "camped" in real life--but my question was how did this gay sensibility play out in his marriages?

I think we'll never know.


Susan Sontag: Notes on 'Camp'
Updated On: 2/23/08 at 05:33 PM
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#13
Posted: 2/23/08 at 5:36pm
I didn't realize they did Crematante during the break-up. Even more fascinating if it can be believed that that the break-up was because Judy caught him having sex with a man.
Updated On: 2/23/08 at 05:36 PM
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#14
Posted: 2/23/08 at 5:39pm
that white dress is great....so fluid and it's great how the extra mini-trains from the front drape accentuate even her blocking, not just the choreography. Cool when it got caught in the chair cushion...probably a happy accident they left in?!?!?

that line "I can be HEP" is so Kay Thompson...the lyric itself, the orchestration, and Judy's reading of it. That is a lot of fun, made even more fun by PAL JOEY's notes on it.
just keep swimming along, don't rise to the....
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#15
Posted: 2/23/08 at 5:47pm
PJ, you can fling all the rumors you want but you can't 'prove' someone's sexuality. How much sense does it make to perpetuate narrow stereotypes in attempts to establish dead people's orientation while at the same time fighting against those very same negative stereotypes?

Why does his sexuality matter to you anyway?
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#16
Posted: 2/23/08 at 5:48pm
Huh?
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#17
Posted: 2/23/08 at 6:01pm
There was a great documentary made in 1985 about what life was like pre-1969 for gay men and lesbians called "Before Stonewall."

re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante

Watch the documentary. You'll see I'm not "perpetuating stereotypes." I'm talking about what life was like before gay liberation.

One of the most moving parts of the film os when an elderly gay man who was there then describes a drag queen who would rally the spirits of men being arrested in a bust at a local San Francisco gay bar by singing loudly "God Save Us Nellie Queens" to the tune of "My Country 'Tis of Thee."

It may seem stereotypical to you now, and it may have been camping then, but it was also fierce and defiant and proud.

I was 13 when Judy died and Stonewall happened. I remember meeting many of those gay men when I was a teenager.

You may call them stereotypes but their pioneering behavior planted the seeds for your ability to live as an out gay man today.
The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community: Before Stonewall (1985)
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#18
Posted: 2/23/08 at 6:09pm
"You may call them stereotypes but their pioneering behavior planted the seeds for your ability to live as an out gay man today."

Tell that to the non-flaming gays in traditional settings who are still afraid of coming out because they'll get associated with drag queens. Tell that to the Larry Craigs of the world.
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#19
Posted: 2/23/08 at 6:15pm
That's pretty much what the documentary's about. Most of the men arrested in those pre-Stoneall raids WERE non-flaming gays.

But once they put them in the paddy wagon, they were all treated the same.

Anyway the reason I'm so fascinated by Vincente is that he and I share a birthday.
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#20
Posted: 2/23/08 at 6:34pm
OMG...I can't believe I have never seen this. She looked fabulous......I think people didn't realize how tiny she was..
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#21
Posted: 2/23/08 at 6:43pm
Ok, fair enough. Here's my major issue: There is one Garland 'expert' out there whose comments about Minnelli lead one to feel he's scapegoating Minnelli and he plays on the ambiguity of Minnelli's orientation for Judy's downfall.
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#22
Posted: 2/23/08 at 7:10pm
I thought I know them all but I don't know who you're referring to.

PM me if you like.
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#23
Posted: 2/23/08 at 7:32pm
"Holland, you know!"

The thing I find most bizarre is that the number was written for Greer Garson.

"Hurry up and get into your conga clothes - we've got to do something to save this show!"
Updated On: 2/23/08 at 07:32 PM
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re: Judy Garland: Madame Crematante#24
Posted: 2/23/08 at 7:42pm
Yes, it was written for Greer, but didn't want to make fun of herself. Judy was flawless.