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William A. Wellman
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Olivia de Havilland,
Dick Purcell is an American taxi driver who wants to become a singer promoting cheese products. Oddly he thinks the way to do it is to become a gondolier from Venice. Along the way he sings and woos a sassy secretary Alice.
Esther Blodgett is just another starry-eyed farm kid trying to break into the movies. Waitressing at a Hollywood party, she catches the eye of alcoholic star Norman Maine, is given a test, and is caught up in the Hollywood glamor machine (ruthlessly satirized). She and her idol Norman marry; but his career abruptly dwindles to nothing Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 17, 1940 with Adolphe Menjou reprising his film role. See more »
In the night court scene, the judge refers to the "commonwealth" but the movie is set in California which isn't one of the states to have commonwealth status. The judge should have referred to the "state" instead. See more »
When you see this masterpiece, remember that more than 65 years have passed since it debuted on the big screen. How many contemporary films will dazzle and delight in 2065?
Sure, we have seen this story before, but this was the first incarnation. Sure all films are in color today, but notice the rich, full-rigged use of color here, only a decade after talkies began. Dialogue sound familiar, well many of the lines originated here (thanks Dorothy Parker).
First caught this in the movie theatre around 1975 as this David O. Selznick production had been out of circulation. Judy Garland's troubled but ultimately engrossing and hugely entertaining remake was already familiar to me. So how does a classic compare to its first version. To me, it is one of the 1930's masterworks.
How perfect to cast Janet Gaynor in the role, an Oscar winner herself at 20 --- that child-like voice unforgettable. Fredric March, like Gaynor already a star and early Oscar recipient, world weary and helpless. The art deco, lavish production, haunting music, and scene after scene of "behind the scenes Hollywood", well they sure worked for me. "Kitsch" an old friend labeled it, but to me, memorable.
I love watching this movie --- hope you enjoy it as well.
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