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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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(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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...
...
...
...
Danny McGuire (as Tom Noonan)
...
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:

Destiny came at her with a leer! 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:

$14,933,000 (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

The "shield and initials" logo on the front of the orchestra's touring bus spoofs Warner Bros. own classic "WB Shield" logo. See more »

Goofs

Vicki and Norman's house is shown, in the distance, as being on top of a bluff overlooking the ocean, but inside the house, it appears that the house is sitting on the beach. See more »

Quotes

Esther Blodgett: [Norman has returned to find Esther in a nightclub. Esther walks over to him with a small laugh] Hello, Mr. Maine. You turn up in the strangest places.
Norman Maine: Don't I now?
Esther Blodgett: [stops laughing, suddenly shocked] And you're cold sober.
Norman Maine: Well, you'd better make the most of it!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tales from the Warner Bros. Lot (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

The Man That Got Away
(uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Judy Garland
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent entertainment, subtle filming
24 January 2005 | by (New York) – 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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