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A Star Is Born (1954)

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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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(screen play by), (based on the 1937 screen play by) | 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
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Danny McGuire (as Tom Noonan)
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Lola Lavery
...
Susan Ettinger
...
Graves
Hazel Shermet ...
Libby's Secretary
...
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:

"IT IS SOMETHING TO SEE THIS 'STAR IS BORN'! STUNNING!" N.Y. Times (original ad - mostly caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 October 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ein neuer Stern am Himmel  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,019,770 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,933,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Groucho Marx called Judy Garland not winning an Oscar for A Star Is Born (1954), "the biggest robbery since Brink's." Hedda Hopper later reported that her loss to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl (1954) was the result of the closest Oscar vote up till that time that didn't end in a tie, with just six votes separating the two. In any event, it was a heartbreak from which she never really recovered and which has remained a matter of some controversy ever since. See more »

Goofs

Although the interior of Esther's apartment appears to be situated on a hill with a panoramic view of Hollywood, the address she gives Norman is in the flatlands of Hollywood with, at best, a second story view of nearby buildings. See more »

Quotes

Norman Maine: Of course you're scared! We all are! What makes you think you wouldn't be?
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Connections

Referenced in The Nanny: The Nose Knows (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Trinidad Coconut Oil Shampoo
(uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Commercial jingle performed by Judy Garland
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent entertainment, subtle filming
24 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

Alcoholic movie star Norman Maine (James Mason) meets singer Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland) and gets her the screen test she needs to become a big star (and change her name to Vicki Lester—has any name ever so desperately needed changing?).

This was not my first viewing of A Star Is Born, but it was illuminating. I certainly already believed it was a great movie, but it is far more subtle and complex than I had previously known. The movie is working on several levels at once. In one way, it's a straight-ahead musical, with some wonderful songs and production numbers. At another level, it's an 'inside Hollywood' story, and that level works remarkably well. Some of the 'events' (the opening, the Academy Awards) look almost raw in their filming style, almost like news footage, creating a powerful impression of being behind the scenes. The production numbers support that impression, with numerous bits and visuals lifted from other musicals, so that we are clued into the idea that we are seeing what "really" happened, or might have happened, on any number of film sets (at one point, An American in Paris is referenced directly).

Finally, it is a remarkably honest and true portrayal of alcoholism and marriage to an alcoholic. Esther's co-dependence is seen for what it is, her pain is real, her self-flagellation is real. If anything, the movie is overly sympathetic with Norman Maine, portraying the publicist (Jack Carson) who is disgusted with him as a villain. When I saw A Star Is Born for the first time, I was in *my* one and only relationship with an alcoholic. I wept with Judy Garland and I knew firsthand how accurately her agony was depicted. All these years later, quite recovered from any desire to go THERE again, I sympathize almost as much with the publicist. Kick the bum out! A few weeks ago I saw the train wreck that is New York, New York. It seemed like Scorcese's intention was to deconstruct, while at the same time celebrating, the 40s Hollywood musical. He wanted to show the ugliness behind those magical romances, the meanness behind those amusingly bossy men, and he still wanted to enjoy the glamour. Upon re-viewing A Star Is Born, I wondered why he bothered. It's already been done, as well as could possibly be done.


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