The Man that Got Away

"The Man that Got Away" is a popular song, published in 1953 and was written for the 1954 version of the movie A Star Is Born. The music was written by Harold Arlen, and the lyrics by Ira Gershwin. In 1955 it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.[1]

Arlen had originally collaborated with Johnny Mercer, who wrote lyrics that began "I've seen Sequoia, it's really very pretty, the art of Goya, and Rockefeller City, but since I saw you, I can't believe my eyes."[2] The Gershwin Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin contains a typescript draft of the lyrics with Ira Gershwin's handwritten changes.

Original Garland rendition

The best-known recording of this song was made by Judy Garland with the Warner Bros. orchestra under the direction of Ray Heindorf using an arrangement by Skip Martin. Judy's performance of the song in A Star is Born is unusual for being filmed in one continuous shot. In the finished take, Garland (as Esther Blodgett) performs the song during an after hours rehearsal session in a smoky nightclub.

"The Man That Got Away" is arguably the most important single musical sequence in the entire film. As one of the first things filmed for the movie, it was photographed in three different costumes on three different occasions, in over forty different partial or complete takes. Judy Garland prerecorded the song on September 3, 1953 and the number was first filmed on Wednesday, October 21, 1953.

Due to technical limitations of the medium at the time, the cameraman could not give director George Cukor what he wanted: "low light levels, the impressionistic feeling of the musical instruments, Garland moving in and out of pools of light," so he was fired. Of course, Cukor realized later that the film stock itself was the problem, not the cinematographer and used him in a number of other films later on.

Changes were then made to the costume and set and the number was filmed a second time the following Thursday, October 29th. Art director Gene Allen said, "The first time it looked as if we had painted a set to look like a bar. So to give it a slightly impressionistic look I...put a scrim between the musicians and the back bar. If you look very carefully at that scene you can see the scrim nailed down on the floor..."

According to soundman Earl Bellamy: "When Judy sang to playback, you could never hear anything...She wanted me to start off at a full blast and then she topped that...her huge voice carrying out over the rafters. You could hear Judy clear as a bell, and she sang right with it..."

Garland did 27 takes of the number over three days, both partial and complete, but according to Allen, "Cukor had her doing all sorts of different bits of business before the song. All of that action didn't really fit the song though — it was just too busy. Plus, she didn't look good — her costume was wrinkled, and didn't fit right...." If that weren't enough, the color was too brown for her complexion as well.

Four months later it was filmed for a third time in February 1954, with new hairstyle and costume and a totally brand new set. Cukor felt this time they had finally gotten it right: "I think we've generated a lot of sex...She looks perfectly charming in a new Jean-Louis dress, and I know that this too is an enormous improvement over the way we first did it — it has fun and spirit."

The fact that Garland had lost over twenty pounds over the ensuing winter helped matters considerably as well. Costumes and makeup problems notwithstanding, she no longer had that frumpy, dowdy look apparent in the earlier takes and shone in the moment.

Main principal photography for the film began in earnest around the first week of February, 1954. Ten days later, the number was filmed in both widescreen Technicolor and in CinemaScope as well. As a result of the fabulous color renditions and faithful representations of the sweeping views, Jack L. Warner and Producer Sid Luft agreed to scrap nearly two weeks of footage to date and began the film again in CinemaScope. The original takes are added as a special feature on the currently available DVD.

Garland later sang this song as a regular part of her concert repertoire for the rest of her career as well as on the Sammy Davis Jr. Show in 1966.



  1. ^ It lost the Academy Award to the title song from Three Coins in a Fountain (1954). Source: 65 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards by Robert Osborne, Abbeville Press: 1992, ISBN 1-55859-715-8, p. 135.
  2. ^ Skylark:The Life and Times of Johnny Mercer" by Philip Furia
  3. ^
  4. ^

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The One That Got Away (Lied) — Dieser Artikel wurde auf den Seiten der Qualitätssicherung eingetragen. Bitte hilf mit, ihn zu verbessern, und beteilige dich bitte an der Diskussion! Folgendes muss noch verbessert werden: Generalüberholung nötig, vor allem muss die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Underbelly Files: The Man Who Got Away — Underbelly Files: The Men Who Got Away Género Drama, Crímen Reparto Toby Schmitz Claire van der Boom Jeremy Sims Aaron Jeffery Brendan Cowell Ian Meadows Josh Lawson Freya Stafford Narrado por Aaron Jeffery País de origen …   Wikipedia Español

  • The Man Who Sold the World (песня) — The Man Who Sold the World Песня Дэвида Боуи с альбома The Man Who Sold the World Выпущен 4 ноября 1970 …   Википедия

  • The Dorm That Dripped Blood — Directed by Stephen Carpenter Jeffrey Obrow Written by Stephen Carpenter Stacey Giachino Starring Laura Lapinski Stephen Sachs David Snow Pamela Holland …   Wikipedia

  • The Man in Grey (novel) — Infobox Book | name = The Man in Grey title orig = translator = image caption = Cover of the 1918 First Edition author = Baroness Orczy illustrator = cover artist = country = UK language = English series = genre = Historical novel publisher =… …   Wikipedia

  • The Family That Preys — Infobox Film name = The Family That Preys caption = Promotional poster director = Tyler Perry producer = Tyler Perry Roger M. Bobb Michael Paseornek Karen Gorodetzky writer = Tyler Perry starring = Alfre Woodard Kathy Bates Sanaa Lathan Rockmond… …   Wikipedia

  • The Man from Snowy River (1982 film) — Infobox Film name = The Man from Snowy River caption = Tom Burlinson and Sigrid Thornton The Man from Snowy River (Australian DVD cover) imdb id = 0084296 writer = Banjo Paterson (poem) Fred Cul Cullen (story) John Dixon (screenplay) starring =… …   Wikipedia

  • The Man (film) — Infobox Film name = The Man caption = Theatrical poster for The Man writer = Jim Piddock Margaret Oberman Stephen Carpenter starring = Samuel L. Jackson Eugene Levy Miguel Ferrer Luke Goss director = Les Mayfield producer = Kent Alterman Toby… …   Wikipedia

  • The Man of the Year (The O.C. episode) — Infobox Television episode Colour = #ffaa44 Series = The O.C. Title = The Man of the Year Caption = Sandy prepares to announce he is giving up the hospital project. Season = 3 (2005 2006) Episode = 24 Airdate = May 4, 2006 (FOX) Writer = Josh… …   Wikipedia

  • Chica and the Man — Ugly Betty episode Episode no. Season 4 Episode 13 Directed by Victor Nelli Jr. Written by …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.