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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » I Could Go On Singing (Blu-ray)
I Could Go On Singing (Blu-ray)
Twilight Time // Unrated // May 10, 2016 // Region Free
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Twilighttimemovies]
Review by William Harrison | posted June 4, 2016 | E-mail the Author
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

Judy Garland's final film role sees her playing a famous singer looking to rekindle a relationship with the son she gave up years earlier to focus on her career. The part is not so different from Garland's own life, many years of which were spent warring with onetime husband Sidney Luft over their minor children. Garland is best known as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, of course, but she was also an accomplished stage performer, with engagements at the London Palladium and New York's Palace Theatre. Released six years before Garland's death, I Could Go On Singing is an affecting drama with several show-stopping stage performances from the star. This is not Garland's best film, but her emotionally raw performance and the undeniable similarities to Garland's own life make this worth seeking out.

A world-famous singer finally coming down from the high of her stardom, Jenny Bowman (Garland) begs former lover David Donne (Dirk Bogarde) to let her see their son, Matt (Gregory Phillips). This will violate a promise she made to David years earlier in exchange for him raising the boy in a normal household. David still admires Jenny, but recognizes her as manipulative, selfish and high-maintenance, and is expectedly reluctant to introduce her to Matt. He eventually does, but Jenny is not satisfied with a brief meeting. She oversteps her authority and begins bonding with the boy, which infuriates David. Jenny craves David and Matt's respect, and continues her world tour, hoping at each stop that the pair will be in the audience.

Directed by Ronald Neame (The Poseidon Adventure), I Could Go On Singing mirrors the domestic disquiet of Garland's own life, and brings her fiery stage presence to the silver screen. There are several concert numbers in the film, including the title song, which was written by "Over the Rainbow" scribes Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg. That is neither the best song nor the best performance in the film. I prefer "By Myself" or "Hello Bluebird," neither of which were written for the film. In those emotional performances Garland soars, and displays the kind of talent that landed her the distinction "Greatest Entertainer." Bogarde stands tall next to Garland, which is not an easy feat. His character's anger simmers just below the surface, and this caring father is likely the only man who has ever said no to Jenny.

I was fascinated to watch Jenny in a ritual that Garland herself may have adopted. She stands backstage before a performance, willing herself to go out before the crowd, fighting back depression and fear before putting on a brave face and becoming that person the audience expects. It takes a toll on Jenny, and she has given up close relationships to satisfy the desires of others. Matt is wonderfully innocent and excited by Jenny's career, and even David admits an admiration for her talent. Not Garland's paramount film - some say that is Oz, others cite A Star is Born) - I Could Go On Singing is still a potent, end-of-career performance from Garland. You can see the cracks in Garland's own exterior here, which is both startlingly powerful and devastatingly sad.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

Twilight Time delivers another wonderfully film-like transfer from an MGM master. This 2.35:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image sparkles with wonderful detail and texture. Clarity and sharpness are both excellent, and colors are appropriately saturated. Blacks waver slightly in a few spots, but shadow detail is generally good. I noticed only minor specks, and Twilight Time has not used edge enhancement or digital noise reduction here.

SOUND:

The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mono mix is totally free of hiss and distortion. The dialogue is crisp and never crowded. The concert numbers are given surprising heft, and the music never sounds tinny. English SDH subtitles are included.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This Blu-ray is part of Twilight Time's "Limited Edition Series," and only 3,000 units were produced. The disc is packed in a clear case with dual-sided artwork, and a six-page booklet with photos and essay slides into the left side of the interior. Extras include two wonderfully informative commentaries. The first is a Commentary by Producer Lawrence Turman and Film Historians Lem Dobbs and Nick Redman, the second is a Commentary by Film Historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros. Next you get Twilight Time's standard Isolated Score and Effects Track, in 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio stereo. Finally you get two Theatrical Trailers (6:53 total/HD); a TV Spot (0:57/HD); and an MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer (2:06/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Judy Garland's final film performance is an impressive one. She plays Jenny Bowman, a character that may as well be based on Garland's own rocky domestic life and powerful stage performances. The film is not her best, but I Could Go On Singing is a bittersweet finale for the actress. Twilight Time's Blu-ray looks and sounds excellent, and offers several worthwhile supplements. Highly Recommended.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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