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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 »
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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>
It has been speculated (though never confirmed) since the time of the movie's release that the story was inspired by the real-life marriage of Barbara Stanwyck and her first husband, Frank Fay. 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 »
Now, I'm going to turn you over to our demon press agent, Libby. Don't let him frighten you. He has a heart of gold... only harder.
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Janet Gaynor plays Esther Blodgett beautifully, a girl who leaves for Hollywood with dreams of film magazines and the blessing of her granny. Once there she finds it tough-going until meeting Norman Maine (Fredric March) at a party. We've already seen Norman drunk at a theatre but here he charms Esther and actually gets her into the movies before marrying her and watching his own career crumble. March is excellent in this, and the look of the film is surprisingly modern with its lovely technicolor and gadgets (I particularly like the shower in the motor home Esther and Norman take on honeymoon). Esther's move to become star Vicki Lester, Oscar-winning actress, is unbelievable but as her real-life tragedy unfolds, compelling. And who can stay dry-eyed at the end? Remade with music and Judy Garland in 1954 (very well) but this first version is a jewel amongst other 30s classics.
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