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A Star Is Born (1954)

Passed   |    |  Drama, Musical, Romance


A Star Is Born (1954) Poster

A film star helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career on a downward spiral.

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7.7/10
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  • Judy Garland in A Star Is Born (1954)
  • Judy Garland and James Mason in A Star Is Born (1954)
  • Judy Garland, Vincente Minnelli Star Is Born, A (1954) 0047522
  • Judy Garland and James Mason in A Star Is Born (1954)
  • Judy Garland in A Star Is Born (1954)
  • Judy Garland and James Mason on the set of "A Star Is Born," 1954. Modern silver gelatin, 11x14. $600 © 1978 Sanford Roth / AMPAS MPTV

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User Reviews


22 June 2005 | drednm
10
| Judy Garland at Her Best
The 1954 musicalized version of A Star Is Born is a great film. Judy Garland and James Mason (both Oscar nominated) turn in terrific performance as Esther and Norman. Like its 1937 predecessor (which starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March—both Oscar nominated), the 1954 version follows the ups and down of two people set against the vicious world of Hollywood. The newer version sticks to the basic story but adds some great numbers for Garland, including "The Man That Got Away" and "I Was Born in a Trunk." In a major comeback, Garland had not worked in films since Summer Stock (1950), and her performance here is the best of her career. That she lost the Oscar to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl is one of Hollywood's great inequities. Mason lost to Marlon Brando for On the Waterfront. Garland sings superbly and is a great comic and dramatic actress. Her Esther is more vulnerable than Gaynor's just as Mason's Norman is more pathetic than March's. I love both versions. Charles Bickford and Jack Carson play the other major parts, played by Adolphe Menjou and Lionel Stander in 1937. Two major supporting roles from the 1937 version were cut from the 1954 version: Esther's first Hollywood friend (Andy Devine) and her intrepid grandmother (the great May Robson). But Garland's musical numbers make up for their absence. Oddly, despite the great hullabaloo surrounding A Star Is Born, it was not nominated for best picture, and George Cukor was bypassed in the directing category. One of the best musicals ever made.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Judy Garland wasn't always home resting when she was sick. She'd take a day off, then George Cukor would read in Louella Parsons' column that she had spent the night singing at a nightclub. She'd leave early and go to the races. None of this was released to the press. Instead, the Warners PR department attributed the delays to Garland's relentless perfectionism.


Quotes

Judge George J. Barnes: Were you Norman Maine the actor?
Norman Maine: Yes.


Goofs

The opening scenes of cars arriving for the benefit combine actual shots of a Hollywood event with ones filmed for the movie. But in one shot, taken from the perspective of a spotlight crew atop their tower, the footage of the real event is shown on the right side of the screen, while footage shot for the movie is at the left. Not only is the disparity between the two shots obvious, but the split screen is completely mismatched, so that the cars on the right appear to be moving at a sharp angle directly into the cars and building in the shot at left, and it looks as though there are two streets intersecting below.


Alternate Versions

In 1983 the film was restored to 176 minutes by Ron Haver. However, although all of the original soundtrack was available, some visual footage couldn't be found: the restored version resorts to a montage of stills, dialogue and music in place of the missing scenes. Director George Cukor died the day before the opening of the restored version.


Soundtracks

You Took Advantage of Me
(uncredited)
Music by
Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Performed by Judy Garland as part of the "Born in a Trunk" medley

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Drama | Musical | Romance

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