Lessons from "Judy" for any possible Doris Day Biopic?

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Lessons from "Judy" for any possible Doris Day Biopic?

Unread post by docwheels »

Anyone seen the new biopic "Judy"? If not, I recommend it- with the reservation noted below.

But before I get to that reservation, a couple of "what do you think" questions if you've seen the movie:

1) Since biopics these days seems to focus around specific time frames or incidents - not an entire life - what time period or event would you focus on if you were a filmmaker making a Doris Day biopic?

2) What do you think about the performer giving their own rendition of the famous star's songs as opposed to lip-syncing to the actual music of the star?

I ask this second question because I thought that was the weakness of the "Judy" biopic. While Renee Zellweger has a good voice - and did a masterful job of mimicking Judy Garland's mannerisms and even voice cracks - since the entire movie is built around the fact that Judy Garland had a unique, compelling vocal talent - Renee's singing just gave no reason to believe that people would put up with and be obsessed with this person. In other words, even if you're not a Judy Garland fan - you couldn't turn away when she sang. When Renee sings, it's nice but not compelling.

What do you think?

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Re: Lessons from "Judy" for any possible Doris Day Biopic?

Unread post by jmichael »

Great questions and a fascinating topic for discussion.

I haven't seen Judy yet so my comments should be taken in that context.

I'd narrow the Doris Day story down to a specific period because there is too much material to cover in a two to two and a half hour feature film. Otherwise, you'd barely scratch the surface and not do the subject justice. If you are going to cover her entire life, then streaming is the way to go. A limited series of four to six episodes on a major content provider with a topflight cast and production team.

Audiences today demand reality. The days of Marni Nixon or any number of studio hired dubbers are long past. The same principle would apply to a name actress attempting to mouth the words over Doris' vocals. People are not going to buy it. So you really have to do what they did with Judy: find a talented actress who can channel the essence of her character and sing well enough to evoke her style, phrasing and tonal quality.

Back to the feature film and selecting which phase of her life to cover - a very tough choice but I'd probably go with the 1940's Big Band era. Scorsese attempted that with New York, New York but that film was a misfire in my opinion. DeNiro was so over the top and Liza was such a mouse that it became tortuous to watch. I'd love to see a gritty yet more balanced depiction of the life of a "girl singer" who survived an abusive marriage and went on to become a great movie star. I'd probably open the film with the train wreck and fade out with her singing It's Magic at the end of Romance On The High Seas.

Michael H

"There's nothing in my bedroom that bothers me."

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Re: Lessons from "Judy" for any possible Doris Day Biopic?

Unread post by Jas1 »

I haven't seen the film either - however -

I'd limit the film to the early years culminating in the launch of the film career and highlighting the abusive relationship with Al Jordan - that would make amazing (if disturbing) visuals - and would not be expected.

Agree with Michael re the music- would have to be someone giving flavours of DD (doing their own vocals) - and it would (as these things always do) alert listeners to try the real thing.

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