7.2/10
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41 user 10 critic

The Star (1952)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 11 December 1952 (USA)
A washed-up movie queen finds romance, but still desires a comeback.

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(original screenplay), (original screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Jim Johannsen aka Barry Lester
...
...
Harry Stone
...
Joe Morrison
...
Phyllis Stone
Paul Frees ...
Richard Stanley
...
R.J., Aging Actor at Party (as Robert Warrick)
...
Barbara Lawrence
Fay Baker ...
Faith
...
Roy
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Storyline

Middle-aged Oscar winning actress Margaret Elliot - Maggie to those that know her - is a Hollywood has-been. Her life is in shambles. She clings to the hope of resurrecting her past movie stardom as a leading ingénue. No one will hire her, she's penniless with creditors selling off anything that she owns that is of monetary value, and she has no one to turn to that can see her through financially. She has in the past supported her sister and brother-in-law, who still want to use her as their meal ticket. Divorced from her actor husband, she shares joint custody of their teen-aged daughter Gretchen, from who Maggie tries to hide her problems. When it looks as if Maggie has hit rock bottom, Jim Johannsen re-enters her life. Jim, who once had the stage name Barry Lester, got his big break in Hollywood movies by Maggie. He came to the quick realization that he was neither good as an actor or that he wanted to do it as a profession. He now works as a boat parts supplier and mechanic. Jim ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a woman...who thought she was a star so high in the sky no man could touch her!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 December 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Estrela  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At least two different Oscar statuettes were used in the "c'mon, Oscar, let's you and me get drunk" sequence. For the first 18 years, Oscar statuettes had a short base. Starting with the 1946 awards (presented in 1947), Oscar statuettes had a taller pedestal base with a brass collar designed for personalized engraving. The statuette that Maggie holds in her apartment and in front of her old house have the pre-1946 base. The one she sets on the dashboard of her car has the newer pedestal base. The switch was made because the Oscar had to rest its head on the backside of the car's rear-view mirror in order to balance on the dashboard while Maggie drove around. Davis' two pre-1946 Oscars were too short, so a newer Oscar was used during shots of the car's interior. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Jim takes Margaret and Gretchen out on his boat, there is an establishing extreme long shot showing Gretchen romping about on the boat. In this shot, her hair is hanging down past her shoulders. In the subsequent medium and long shots in this sequence, her hair is considerably shorter. See more »

Quotes

Margaret Elliott: Haven't you ever cried because you're happy?
Gretchen: No.
Margaret Elliott: Well, you see, some people cry when they're happy and laugh when they're mad.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I Know Lance Garfield, pretty well...you don't know HOW well I know your brother".
16 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

I loved this movie! I campaigned 20th Century Fox to bring it out on video because my copy was on BETA and my Betamax has long since broke. What's interesting about this movie is that it was first offered to Joan Crawford who turned it down flat. At the same time, "Sudden Fear" was presented to Davis, who didn't like the script. Davis also turned down "Come Back, Little Sheba". Well, guess what? Davis accepted "The Star", Joan accepted "Sudden Fear" and Shirley Booth got the chance to repeat her stage success in "Sheba" and all three got nominated for the Best Actress Oscar in 1952! Amazing.

Bette Davis did everything but hit the ceiling in "The Star". She was trying her best to give an Academy Award-type performance. And it was. Margaret to her agent: "You can do everything but get me a picture, can't you?! Harry Stone, the big star-maker, the gentleman agent, my friend!" That was one of the early great lines uttered by has-been movie queen, Margaret Elliot. There were many more to come. Davis turned in a realistic performance as the aging star and conveyed the frustrations that many older performers feel when they realize the truth about their failing careers.

Margaret is torn between her fear of age, her devotion to her young daughter and her drive to be "put back where I belong." She is saddled with a family that she had cared for, financially, since she became a star and their inability to understand that she was no longer a rich and famous actress. I loved the scene when she throws out her sister and brother-in-law in a fit of screaming anger, then grabs her Oscar and takes a drunken ride through the streets of Beverly Hills. After her arrest, Margaret pays a visit to her agent's office. He tell her that she's had his office "running around in circles". Margaret retorts, "Well I'VE been 'running around in circles', too! But not MARGARET ELLIOT circles!"

When Margaret gets the chance to tryout for a movie ("The Fatal Winter") she's wanted for years, she's informed that she is not reading for the lead, but the lead's older sister, Sara. Elliot plots to convince the producers that she should play the younger part by botching the screen test, playing the older sister like a young siren.

Sara: "It isn't like you to pay a social visit, Jed Garfield, what are you doing here?" Jed: "You got it fixed up real nice, Sara, real nice". Sara: "I like things nice. What do you want?" Jed: "You used to be quite a girl, you still think you are, don't you?" Sara: "I still know what's right from wrong." Jed: "You think it's right to tell folks you were in the lane the night of the murder?" Sara: "I was there, Jed Garfield, you KNOW I was there..." Jed: "Well, if you was there, what was you doin' there?" Sara: "None of your business what I was doing there." Jed: "Well, it's my business if you're tryin' to ruin my brother." Sara: "Maybe I was thinking what he tried to do to me." Jed: "You don't know Lance, when he's crossed." Sara: "I know Lance Garfield, pretty well! You don't know HOW well, I know your brother."

She played this like a flirting, young teenager and the test was awful. But it was wonderful ACTING by Miss Bette Davis!

For those who expect to see Margo Channing of "All About Eve", they won't see her here. Davis IS Margaret Elliot! When she said to the old women at the department store, "I AM Margaret Elliot, and I intend to STAY 'Margaret Elliot'!" she meant it.

I am crazy about the entire movie. The ending is contrived, but so what? This is what Davis herself described: A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED BETTE DAVIS MOVIE! Pop some corn, get a candy bar and a big soda and watch this on a very rainy day.


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