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A Star Is Born

  • Music
  • Musical
  • 1954
  • George Cukor
  • 168 mins
  • U

Summary

Musical drama starring Judy Garland and James Mason. Celebrated screen star Norman Maine is saved from drunkenly making a fool of himself in public by struggling young singer Esther Blodgett. Impressed by her talent, Maine encourages her to try the movies, little knowing that Esther's spectacular rise to stardom will mirror his own spectacular fall.

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Review

A star rating of 5 out of 5.

This remake of the 1937 Janet Gaynor movie is one of the superlative melodramas in Hollywood's history, and it contains the greatest ever performance by Judy Garland, paired with the brilliant James Mason - two stars at the height of their powers. Their portrayals, together with fine cinematography by Sam Leavitt and superb direction from George Cukor, ensure that this film enriches more lives each time it is screened. But on first release, the movie suffered from being overlong and was trimmed. The original release version was restored in 1983 by film historian Ronald Haver, who found much of the missing material - minus some scenes that he re-created using stills. This "restoration", though of historical value, doesn't especially help the movie, and can alienate a first-time viewer. It's rather like seeing the Venus de Milo with her arms stuck back on: it may be complete, but didn't everybody prefer her the other way? This stunning movie shows Hollywood at its self-centred best, and when Garland lost that year's Oscar to Grace Kelly (for The Country Girl), Groucho Marx immortally quipped, "it's the biggest robbery since Brink's!"

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
Esther Blodgett / Vicki LesterJudy Garland
Norman MaineJames Mason
Matt LibbyJack Carson
Oliver NilesCharles Bickford
Danny McGuireTommy Noonan
Lola LaveryLucy Marlow
Susan EttingerAmanda Blake
GravesIrving Bacon
Miss WheelerHazel Shermet
Glenn WilliamsJames Brown (1)
Miss MarkhamLotus Robb
AnnouncerJoan Shawlee
DriverDub Taylor

Crew

rolename
DirectorGeorge Cukor

Details

Languages
English
Available on
video and DVD
Formats
Colour
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