Behind the scenes it was a different story. From an early age, MGM Studios had been plying its young actors with ampthetamines and barbiturates to keep them going through the back to back filming schedules required to keep new movies being released. This went hand in hand with the glitzy lifestyle and constant rotation of work/party/premiere/work that made up the backbone of Hollywood.
Despite a hectic work schedule and much critical acclaim, Judy Garland's personnel life was a shambles. By the early sixties, five marriages and a life long battle with alcohol and drug abuse had taken its toll on her. In a bid to get her back into the public's eye it was decided she would write an autobiography. Enter her agent, Irving "Swifty" Lazar. He supplied the ailing star with a reel to reel tape recorder and got her to use it as a way to get the book started as well as maybe come to terms with her problems.
What follows has become known as the "Judy Speaks" tapes. Still mainlining pills and a ludicrous amount of gin, she sobs and screams at ex-husbands, film executives, her complete distrust of the recording device and pretty much everyone who she believes led her to this point in life.
Bear in mind that its pretty heavy going at times. Her booze soaked rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow is pretty heavy. As legend goes, these tapes got confiscated after her death in 1969 and ended up locked away in a publicist's vault before getting a public release some years ago. Judy's family actually petitioned for them to be denied a release but the court ruled otherwise.
Its pretty heavy going stuff at times. Some brief moments of cohesion and happiness are soon washed away by Judy's gin soaked anger and vitriol. Be warned.