Here’s the title card I’ve created for the next film in Judy Garland’s filmography, Presenting Lily Mars. In the movie, an Indiana teen makes good on Broadway (eventually) thanks to a producer (played by Van Heflin) from her hometown and despite his temperamental leading lady (played by European operetta star Marta Eggerth).
This piece was a hard one to tackle as it’s one of my absolute favorite Garland films and I wanted it to be something really special. I referenced “Presenting” from the main trailer typography but built it out of marquee lights, instead, and a drew an illuminated script for the rest of the title.
Judy was 19 when she filmed Presenting Lily Mars. Appearing as an adult for the very first time on screen at the end of the picture in the film's grand musical finale number, she was already a divorcee in real life. For the big number she was decked out in an adult evening gown and appeared wearing her hair up for the first time ever on screen.
MGM had intended that the film star Lana Turner but producer Joe Pasternak added musical numbers and thought it was better suited for Judy Garland.
At the time, MGM was working her mercilessly. She was finishing shooting For Me and My Gal, with Gene Kelly, as she started musical rehearsals for Presenting Lily Mars and would start musical numbers for her next film Girl Crazy, while completing the earlier picture.
Per usual, critics hailed her ability to sell a song and her effortless transitions from comic to dramatic scenes. If you only watch a few of her lesser known films, I would highly recommend you give this one a shot.
It’s one of my favorites because Judy has never looked more glamorous, beautiful, and healthy. Despite becoming a divorcee during filming, being over worked, and relying on medications to get through most days, she was a sincere professional which shines through in her heartfelt and heartwarming performance. Her voice is much more mature sounding here than in her “Oz” days which were just a few years prior. This iconic voice would only get stronger and stronger in the coming years.
The typography in the trailer is a super bold condensed sans serif that’s perfect for illuminating Broadway. I love the board showing the stars ranking at MGM. It’s a pretty fabulous list to be on.
The main title sequence was illustrated by the very talented and iconic illustrator Jacques Kapralik who also created many print ads for the film as well as many other MGM classics I’ll be showing example of when we get there. The treatment features some lovely deco type that very closely resembles what was created for Babes on Broadway.
Here is some of the original artwork Kapralik created for the sequence which can be found in the collection of his work at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming’s archive and research center.
Here are some lovely pieces of ephemera that showcase many different type solutions for the film’s title.
Judy sat for a few glamorous photoshoots made to promote the film. I think this was Judy at her most glamorous and beautiful. You can see hints of Liza Minnelli in those dark eyes and dramatic features!
Here’s the theatrical trailer for the film: