Judy Garland’s greatest performance is in the 1954 version of “A Star Is Born,” but her greatest movie is “The Clock” (streaming on multiple platforms,

including the Criterion Channel), from 1945, which was directed by her soon-to-be husband, Vincente Minnelli.

It’s the film in which Minnelli first unleashed the full force of his artistry—and he did so thanks to Garland’s own dramatic power.

Garland was born on June 10, 1922, and “The Clock,” shot in late 1944, when Garland was twenty-two, is the first movie in which she starred but didn’t sing.

It’s strictly a romantic drama, and its drama is rooted in the overriding story of the historical moment, the Second World War.

The greatness of “The Clock” extends into many dimensions: as a movie of life on the home front and in military service alike; as a New York City movie;

and as one of the most rapturous, tender, and, indeed, erotic romances released by a classic-era Hollywood studio.