Jenny Bowman is a successful singer who, while on an engagement at the London Palladium, visits David Donne to see her son Matt again, spending a few glorious days with him while his father... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
When Esther and Norman are in Norman's convertible, , the distance between them keeps changing between shots. See more »
[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.
What kind of luck?
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.
Yes, and then?
Well, the record will become number one on the Hit Parade, it'll be played on the jukeboxes all over the ...
[...] See more »
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.
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