best film: The Wizard of Oz is a masterpiece an one of the all-time greats for both fantasy films and musicals. The story and performances (nobody in the rest of the strong supporting cast is anywhere near Garland in terms of her achievement here) are as key to the film’s success as a work of art as the memorable music and visuals. It’s a wonderful film to get lost in. Meet Me in St. Louis and A Star is Born are strong second and third films but this is clearly her best.

best performance:  The Wizard of Oz. Garland’s achievement here is monumental. Her scene performing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is the star-maker and full arrival of an actress and future celluloid icon. Garland’s Dorothy is as sympathetic a character as they come. Another way to think about Garland’s value here is to try to picture another actress in this role. You can’t do it.

stylistic innovations/traits:  Garland had only 40 total screen credits as an actress and only 8 films in the archives below but her case is strong for being #17 on this list. First off, very few, if any, actresses can match her two three performances. She’s uniquely gifted and those talents are on full display in Wizard of Oz, Meet Me In St. Louis and A Star is Born. That’s the trio.  Her three films with Minnelli (St. Louis included and also the clock and the pirate) are strong work as well. She’s a better singer than she is a classical actress but that’s no insult to her as an actress- it’s praise for how good of singer she was.

directors worked with:  Minnelli (3) and then Cukor once

Top 5 Performances:

  1. The Wizard of Oz
  2. A Star is Born
  3. Meet Me In St. Louis
  4. Easter Parade
  5. The Clock

Archiveable films

1939- Babes in Arms
1939- The Wizard of Oz
1944- Meet Me In St. Louis
1945- The Clock
1948- Easter Parade
1948- The Pirate
1954- A Star Is Born
1961- Judgment at Nuremberg