Abner Hale, a rigid and humorless New England missionary, marries the beautiful Jerusha Bromley and takes her to the exotic island kingdom of Hawaii, intent on converting the natives. But ... See full summary »
George Roy Hill
Max von Sydow,
This film grew out of a massive attempt by Twentieth Century-Fox to duplicate its earlier success with The Sound of Music (1965) by producing three expensive, large-scale musicals over a period of three years, Doctor Dolittle (1967) and Hello, Dolly! (1969) being the others. Unfortunately, tastes in popular entertainment were beginning to change and all three films' box-office performance reflected this. All were released amidst massive pre-release publicity and all lost equally massive amounts of money for the studio. The result was that several top studio executives lost their jobs, and the studio itself went into such dire financial straits that it only produced one picture for the entire calendar year of 1970. In truth, it would never recoup its losses until a highly successful theatrical reissue of "The Sound of Music" in early 1973. See more »
In the number "Burlington Bertie" the banana skin thrown onstage by Gertie disappears. See more »
The only credits seen at the beginning of the film are those for a fictional black-and-white short subject about Gertrude Lawrence. The film's real credits all appear at the end. However, the Twenieth-Century Fox logo is shown only in black-and-white, and with tinny 1940's-style sound recording, as part of that fictional newsreel. We never see the logo in color and stereophonic sound, although twentieth-Century Fox released "Star!" See more »
After working with Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music", Robert Wise and Saul Chaplin were eager to find a vehicle to showcase her prodigious talents. In choosing the story of Gertrude Lawrence, it seemed they had found an ideal subject. But some serious mistakes were made along the way, which I think are the main reasons audiences rejected this extravagant production. Most important was the casting. There is very little chemistry between Andrews and her leading men, which makes it hard to empathize with the character's romantic entanglements and problems. Another problem was in one of the plot threads: Lawrence was depicted as being somewhat irresponsible with her personal life, especially her finances. If there's one quality Julie Andrews has always projected on screen, it is a down-to-earth, feet-on-the-ground sensibleness which is at odds with this aspect of the character as written. The musical numbers are the biggest reason for seeing this film, but they are staged to give little sense of the context in which they originally were presented (a common problem with show-biz biographies), so they come off looking more like production numbers from a late 60s TV special. Another quibble is that despite the fact that there were songs from shows by Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Kurt Weill, the script implies that all the music was by Noel Coward, even to the extent of having Coward at the piano at the opening night party for Gershwin's "Oh, Kay". Despite these problems, I find the film fascinating because of the lavishness of the production, which (unlike many show-biz bios) depicts a very believable historical setting, and because Wise and company were obviously trying to recreate an all but extinct musical genre: the star vehicle specifically tailored to the talents af a particular performer. For maximum appreciation of "Star!", I recommend the laser disc edition with commentary by Robert Wise, Saul Chaplin, and many members of the cast.
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