Hazel Flagg of Warsaw, Vermont receives the news that her terminal case of radium poisoning from a workplace incident was a complete misdiagnosis with mixed emotions. She is happy not to be... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
A tale of the love between ambulance driver Lt. Henry and Nurse Catherine Barkley during World War I. The action takes place in Italy and the two fall in love during the war and will stop ... See full summary »
The story of a farmer in China: a story of humility and bravery. His father gives Wang Lung a freed slave as wife. By diligence and frugality the two manage to enlarge their property. But ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
When the drunken Norman Maine character raucously interrupts the Oscar presentation, it was déja vu for Janet Gaynor. She had brought her sister to the Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, when she won the first Best Actress Oscar ever awarded, for 7th Heaven (1927). Her sister became very drunk and completely out of control, thoroughly embarrassing Gaynor. 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 »
Tragedy is a test of courage. If you can meet it bravely, it will leave you bigger than it found you. If not than you will have to live all you life as a coward, because no matter where you may run you can never run away from yourself.
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Having seen the two later versions of this tale, it was a surprise to find the original one, even if it doesn't compare with the 50s remake with Judy Garland. This one is worth a look because of the great cinematography and the use of color for a film made in the early years of its invention. William Wellman deserves credit for his direction of a Hollywood story about itself.
The mere idea of young and very naive, Esther Blodgett making it big in Hollywood, is stretching the imagination big time. This girl from the heart of the country yearns to be somebody in the pictures that are her escape from the dreary life she leads. To even think that she would have a chance in becoming a bit player, is a stretch of the imagination, but to have her become a star in her own right with her unsophisticated looks, is even harder to believe. Hollywood of those years was a factory of dreams where many went to be part of it, but for one Esther Blodgett, there were thousands who were rejected.
We watch as Esther is transformed into Vicki Lester, a star larger than life, who captures the public's imagination and goes to eclipse bigger stars such as Norman Maine, her discoverer, and the man she falls in love with. Norman's decline is very fast, while Vicki's ascent into glory is even faster. His drinking habit will get the best of him at a time when help agencies such as A.A. didn't exist. Unfortunately for Vicki, she ultimately has to pay for her own meteoric success.
The cast is superb. Not being a fan of Janet Gaynor, I have to confess that she strikes the right note with her Esther/Vicki role. She is totally believable even though we never even see her take an acting class, much less see her waiting tables to help herself. Frederick March brings an intensity to Norman, the self destructive star, that makes us pity him.
Adolphe Menjou is the studio head who sees a winner in the young, aspiring actress, and gives her the chance. Most surprising of all is the star performance of Lionel Standing as Matt Libby, the studio publicist who is behind the creation of the new star. Andy Devine, May Robson, and the rest are equally satisfying.
This film was a happy surprise in many aspects and will not disappoint.
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