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A Star Is Born (1954)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Musical, Romance  |  16 October 1954 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 10,016 users  
Reviews: 118 user | 63 critic

A film star helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career on a downward spiral.

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(screenplay), , 4 more credits »
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Title: A Star Is Born (1954)

A Star Is Born (1954) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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A movie star helps a young singer/actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Director: Bradley Cooper
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Danny McGuire (as Tom Noonan)
Lucy Marlow ...
Lola Lavery
...
Susan Ettinger
Irving Bacon ...
Graves
Hazel Shermet ...
Libby's Secretary
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Glenn Williams
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Storyline

Norman Maine, a movie star whose career is on the wane, meets showgirl Esther Blodgett when he drunkenly stumbles into her act one night. A friendship develops, then blossoms into romance before tensions increase as Esther's career takes off while Norman's continues to plummet. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"THE ENTIRE PICTURE IS AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE! I WAS SORRY IT ENDED!" Ed Sullivan See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 October 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nace una estrella  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,019,770 (estimated)

Gross:

$4,355,968 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(premiere) | (restored) | (DVD) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System) (magnetic prints)| (optical prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1981, Haver enlisted the help of writer Fay Kanin, president of the Motion Picture Academy® and a member of the National Committee for Film Preservation. She pitched the restoration project to Warner Bros. chairman Robert Daly, who gave Haver the go-ahead. Haver went through film storage vaults on both coasts and dug up leads about private, illegally obtained footage held by private collectors. He even had to call the police to track down one collector who had a 35mm negative of "Lose That Long Face. Eventually he assembled about 20 minutes of the missing half-hour, including both cut musical numbers and the proposal scene. Along the way, he also found a negative and print of the 1932 version of The Animal Kingdom, a film long thought lost; a pristine 35mm print of the 1934 Of Human Bondage and the original negatives for the 1937 A Star Is Born, along with costume and photographic tests for the 1954 version. Other treats he found included newsreel footage and kinescopes of the film's premieres in Hollywood and New York and the first CinemaScope version of "The Man That Got Away." See more »

Goofs

When Esther and Norman are in Norman's convertible, , the distance between them keeps changing between shots. See more »

Quotes

Esther Blodgett: [Norman has finished looking through Esther's scrapbook] You know as much about me as I do myself. But...you see how long it's taken me to get this far. Now, all I need is just a little luck.
Norman Maine: What kind of luck?
Esther Blodgett: Oh, the kind of luck that every girl singer with a band dreams of--one night a big talent scout from a big record company might come in and he'll let me make a record.
Norman Maine: Yes, and then?
Esther Blodgett: Well, the record will become number one on the Hit Parade, it'll be played on the jukeboxes all over the ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: The Movies That Made Us Critics (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

You Took Advantage of Me
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Performed by Judy Garland as part of the "Born in a Trunk" medley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Sing Melancholy Baby
18 January 2005 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Is it possible to watch this fictional story without digressing to thoughts about the real life story of Judy Garland? For me it isn't. Both are permanently intertwined. And it's not just the parallel between fiction and fact, but also the dark, brooding, melancholy mood they engender, like ghosts calling out to us from a Hollywood that no longer exists.

The film's storyline is well known. I won't belabor it here, except to say that it communicates an honest and introspective indictment of the entertainment industry as it once was. The story can be thought of as a kind of archetypal Hollywood memoir, expressed as a musical.

But musicals are supposed to be upbeat, lighthearted, fun. This one isn't. Moments of humor and joy are swept away in a cascade of emotional pain and tragedy. Fiction mimics real life. How appropriate that the film's signature song "The Man That Got Away" is one that is so uncompromisingly serious, poignant, and smoldering ... a perfect vehicle for Judy Garland.

Some say she had the greatest singing voice of any entertainer in the twentieth century. This film lends credence to that assertion. Every song she sings is performed with such consummate verve, such emotional commitment that she seems to be singing not just for her contemporaries, but also for generations to come. Indeed, she is. My personal favorite is the "Born In A Trunk" segment, all fifteen minutes of it. Surrounded by sets of true cinematic art, she belts out one tune after another, including, of course, the poignant "Melancholy Baby".

Judy's singing and the music itself are what make the movie so memorable. But she also demonstrates her considerable acting talent. And the acting of other cast members is fine, especially the performances of James Mason and Jack Carson. I do think that the film was, and still is, too long, the result of an overly ambitious screenplay.

That Judy Garland was denied the Best Actress Oscar is poignant. But her talent was so massive, her uniqueness was so special, maybe fate required a compensatory level of pain and tragedy, as a prerequisite of legend.


56 of 65 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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