The Judy Garland Blogathon: The Clock (1945)

Judy Garland Blogathon

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.

The Clock 1

Alice and Joe enjoy looking around a museum. Image source IMDb.

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.

The Clock 2

Joe and Alice. Image source IMDb. 

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.






14 thoughts on “The Judy Garland Blogathon: The Clock (1945)

  1. rebeccadeniston

    Wonderful post! This is one of my favorite Judy films, too. I like that it shows a little glimpse of wartime New York, as well as this great story. Judy and Robert Walker were so good together, and they enjoyed each other–you can see it in their faces.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thoughtsallsorts

    That’s why I love these Blogathons…discovering new movies to add to my To Watch list. And you’ve introduced me to another addition to my list – it sounds absolutely wonderful.


  3. Michaela

    Lovely post! I adore this movie. It’s so simple and sweet and romantic. I think it’s one of Judy’s best performances, as well as one of her best films overall. Same for Walker and Minnelli. The cinematography is gorgeous, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Joe Thompson

    Excellent post, Maddy. This one always makes me cry. The first time I saw it, I had only seen Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train. It was quite a change. He played nice guys very convincingly.


  5. The Flapper Dame

    I’ve never seen this one- I’ll put it on my watch list- But I just know that Judy can pull it off- she’s so genuine in any role she does!


  6. himzzzzz1

    I love this movie. I saw it first when I was about seventeen and loved it. Then I moved to NYC and saw it again and again as an adult. I loved it even more. I totally believed Joe and Alice were in love and I loved the scene where they help the Milkman make his deliveries. He brings them home for break fast and they meet his wife played by real life husband and wife James Gleason and his wife Lucile. What a great film. Terrific revue. Thanks!!


  7. J-Dub

    I always love it when I see other people who appreciate this film. I agree this movie tends to get overlooked. Having said that, I do a completely different thing with movies, since my site is mostly about sports. I used this movie in a series I do where I explore sports analogies hidden in classic films.

    This might be the oddest film so far in which I’ve discovered a sports analogy, but there’s a very good one contained in “The Milkman” sequence. Walker and Garland are having a romantic moment in the park as their relationship is blossoming. They lose track of time and midnight passes, which just so happens to be the witching hour when the buses stop running in Manhattan. Having no transportation, Walker flags down what he thinks is a cab, but turns out to be a milkman at the beginning of his nightly delivery route. Seeing that Walker is a serviceman, he offers the couple a ride. Without any spoilers, the three end up in an all-night diner where the milkman gets inadvertently decked by a raving drunk (played by Keenan Wynn). Realizing the milkman is now in no condition to finish his route, Walker and Garland team up and finish his route, after which the milkman invites the couple to dinner at his home.

    The analogy: Nobody under 50 remembers when America was a team; when people would actually pick each other up like sports teams do rather than being a country of whiny “me-first” types.

    Liked by 1 person


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