Today is Judy Garland’s birthday (and also my mother’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Mom!) so it’s a good day for a song. “The Man That Got Away,” written by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin for the 1954 movie musical “A Star Is Born,” is one of my favorite songs from the movies; it tells a story of love lost and a world transformed (“the night is bitter/ the stars have lost their glitter”), and Garland sings it using every ounce of pain and triumph in her hard-lived life, taking us through anguish and back to the other side again. This YouTube clip combines the three different versions of the scene that she shot for “A Star Is Born,” in three different costumes over a period of several weeks. Garland had pre-recorded the song, but director George Cukor struggled to get the feel of the lighting and scene right, in the after-hours nightclub where Esther Blodgett, rehearsing with the band, sings a favorite song. The bottom clip, in the blue dress, is the one ultimately used in the movie, but it’s interesting to see the differences. Fans of the movie should note that it will be re-released June 22 on DVD in a newly restored edition (including Blu-Ray), but that it includes no footage not included in the 1983 restoration, which used production stills to fill in for places in the movie where film footage was lost.
Sing it, Judy.