Here are three different takes, on three different shoots, of Judy Garland singing The Man That Got Away from A Star is Born. The first version was filmed on October 21st, 1953, featuring Judy in a pink blouse. But the cameraman could not give the 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. Changes were made to the costume and set and the number was re-filmed on October 29th. Gene Allen says,
“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…“
Garland did 27 takes of the number over three days, both partial and complete. But
“Cukor had her doing bits of business before the song, and all of that action didn’t really fit the song – it was just too busy. And she didn’t look good – her costume was wrinkled, it didn’t fit right.”
And the color was wrong –too brown.
It was filmed for a THIRD time in February of 1954, with new hairstyle and costume and a new set using reds and blues. Cukor said,
“I think we have 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.“
Soundman Earl Bellamy:
“When Judy sang to playback, you couldn’t hear anything… She wanted me to start at full blast and then she topped it…you could hear Judy clear as a bell, and she sang right with it…“
It’s all fascinating. Watch.