Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 July 2019

Tissues at the ready: first trailer for Renee Zellweger in 'Judy' drops

The biopic will show a much less airbrushed version of the tragic 'Wizard of Oz' star Judy Garland

Judy Garland's most famous role was Dorothy in 'The Wizard Of Oz'. Mgm / Kobal / REX / Shutterstock
Judy Garland's most famous role was Dorothy in 'The Wizard Of Oz'. Mgm / Kobal / REX / Shutterstock

The first full-length trailer for Renee Zellweger's turn as Judy Garland in the biopic Judy, which is due to release in September, has dropped, and it looks like it could be a tearjerker.

Garland was a darling of mid-20th century stage and screen. Although she is perhaps best remembered for her performance, at just 17, as Dorothy in Victor Fleming’s classic The Wizard of Oz, she was no "famous-for-15-minutes" teen star.

She would also go on to star alongside the likes of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire throughout the '40s and '50s in films like Meet Me in St Louis and Easter Parade, was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in the 1954 version of A Star is Born and hosted her own Emmy-award nominated TV show The Judy Garland Show from 1963-64. In 1999, the American Film Institute would posthumously place her among the 10 Greatest Female Stars of Classic American Cinema.

Garland struggled in her personal life from a young age, however. She toured the vaudeville circuit with her two sisters from childhood, and the trio made their on-screen debut in 1929’s The Big Revue, when Garland was just nine. The pressures of fame began early, and in adult life, she struggled with barbiturate and alcohol abuse, crushing lack of self-confidence, successive romantic disasters and growing debt. She eventually died from an overdose in London in 1969, manager-less, homeless, and aged just 47.

Judy follows Garland’s final months leading up to those shows in London, where she performed a five-week run at the Talk of the Town cabaret venue in the hope of raising enough money to get back to the US and reunite with her children.

We’re in something of a purple patch for warts and all musical biopics at the moment, and judging by the trailer, Judy will offer more of the same as Garland necks pills in front of her children, is turned away from hotels due to lack of funds, and struggles to even take to the stage as she undertakes her London run. It’s a far cry from the squeaky clean Dorothy beloved of so many fans, and I have a feeling that the Judy we’re about to see on screens may not be in Kansas anymore.

Updated: July 9, 2019 12:20 PM

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