Crystal over at In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood is hosting this blogathon all about Judy Garland. Be sure to visit her site to check out all the other entries, I can’t wait to read them all myself.
Judy Garland was not only a hugely talented singer, but she was an excellent actress too. Although primarily known for her popular performances in musicals, Judy also made a few non musical films in which she more than proved her talents as a dramatic actress.
I want to talk about one of these dramatic films called The Clock. This is a sadly much underrated film. It was known here in the UK upon release as Under The Clock. It is directed by Vincente Minnelli. This film was actually Judy’s first non musical role.
This is one of my favourite romantic films. It is so moving and Judy and Robert’s performances seem so natural to me. Their portrayal of their characters growing feelings for one another seems totally genuine.
The film is set during WW2. Joe (Robert Walker) is a young American soldier on leave in New York for two days. This is his first time in the big city. Joe has no idea where he should go or how to get there.
Joe meets Alice ( Judy Garland)at the train station, after she trips over his foot and damages her shoe in the process. Alice agrees to show Joe around the city for a while. As they spend more time together, Joe and Alice start to like each other very much and fall in love. The pair decide to marry, but in order to do so they must work their way through a mountain of paper work and red tape. Can they beat the system and marry before Joe has to leave to go back to base?
At the time it was made, this story must have been a very common one in real life for many a young serviceman and his beloved sweetheart. The story is poignant and it feels believable too. You get the sense that this is just one such story out of thousands like it that we are watching.
I love the scene where Joe and Alice are in the park at night, the couple are listening to all the sounds of the city; sounds such as ships horns, music, cars etc and are totally caught up this a magical moment. There comes a moment when they both end up looking at each other and you see that in that instant they both see only each other.
It’s like they both suddenly realise at the same time that they are meant to be together. Joe walks towards Alice, pulls her to him and they kiss. I love the shared look Judy and Robert have in this scene. They really make you see and feel the moment of realisation the couple are sharing.
My all time favourite scene in this film is the one in the church. Joe and Alice sit in a church late at night and exchange wedding vows by themselves, reciting from a bible they have found in the church. This scene is one of the most beautiful and touching I have seen in any film. Whether you are religious or not, it can’t be denied that the wedding vows are very powerful and meaningful words.
In this church scene, Judy and Robert convey to us that Joe and Alice fully realise and accept the words they are reciting and are aware of the importance of their vows. They are not entering into this lightly, their bond is one for life and they intend to keep these vows. This is the wedding ceremony they wanted and were denied in the rush of the previous scene. I love they way Judy and Robert look at each other in this, they are so tender together.
Judy plays Alice as bubbly and outgoing. She is confident in her life, but hesitant when it comes to relationships. Alice wants a relationship that will be special and will be the relationship of her life.
Robert plays Joe as a really good guy, who is both shy and awkward. Once you get to know him you won’t remember his shyness. He too wants someone special, he isn’t out for a brief fling he wants a lasting relationship. I love how tender and gentle Robert is in the romantic scenes with Judy. Both actors really make their characters feelings seem so real to us.
Both Judy and Robert work so well together here. They are totally convincing as the young couple slowly falling in love. I wish they had made more films where they were the lead couple. Both Judy and Robert had difficult lives and apparently they became good friends on set when they made this. Robert died far too young, aged just 32, in 1951.
My favourite scenes in this film are the following. Joe and Alice reciting their own wedding vows in the church. The scene where they watch the sea lions in the zoo. The morning after their wedding. The realisation scene in the park. Joe chasing Alice’s bus to ask her out on a date. The scene where they find each other again at the station after they get separated on a train.
This is a moving and very romantic film. I also always find myself wondering what happened to them once the film ends, and I always hope they got a happy ending. I wish more people out there knew about this little gem. I am hoping that this post will encourage some new viewers to seek this one out.
In my opinion both Judy and Robert give two of their finest performances in this film.
I like Judy quite a lot as an actress. Here are my top five Judy Garland film performances.
1- A Star Is Born
2- The Clock
3- I Could Go On Singing
4- The Wizard Of Oz
5- Easter Parade
Thanks so much for reading. Are you also a fan of The Clock? If so, I’d love to read your comments on this lovely film and Judy’s performance.