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A Star Is Born (1954)

Approved | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 16 October 1954 (USA)
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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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Writers:

(screenplay), | 4 more credits »
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Popularity
4,132 ( 4,655)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Ein neuer Stern am Himmel  »

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At first the limitations of working in CinemaScope presented an obstacle to George Cukor. There was a whole set of rules about what would and would not work in the new system. The so-called experts advised against certain camera moves, certain colours, tight close-ups and too much quick cutting. Finally he and his two consultants on the film, production designer Gene Allen and colour consultant Hoyningen Huene, decided to ignore the rules and make up new ones as they went along. As a result, this was one of the first films to make truly creative use of the CinemaScope process. See more »

Goofs

After Vicki comes home and she performs in her house for Norman, the doorbell rings and he goes to the door to accept a package for Vicki. His hair is all mussed up when he goes to the door, but after he closes it and the camera goes back to him, there isn't a hair out of place. Then he walks over to where Vicki is and his hair is all mussed up again. See more »

Quotes

Oliver Niles: You know Libby you missed a lot not knowing Norman Maine.
Matt Libby: Not knowing him? I spent my life knowing him. I knew what he was going to do before he did it. I knew him backwards.
Oliver Niles: You didn't know him at all. He was quite a guy.
See more »


Soundtracks

Swanee
(uncredited)
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Irving Caesar
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.


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