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Talented rock star John Norman Howard has seen his career begin to decline. Too many years of concerts and managers and life on the road have made him cynical and the monotony has taken its toll. Then he meets the innocent, pure and very talented singer Esther Hoffman. As one of his songs in the movie says "I'm gonna take you girl, I'm gonna show you how." And he does. He shows Esther the way to stardom while forsaking his own career. As they fall in love, her success only makes his decline even more apparent. Written by
A. Lloyd Adams [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Director Frank Pierson was so angered by his experience working with Streisand on this film that he wrote a first person account, published in both New York and New West magazines, detailing what a horrible experience it had been. Pierson portrayed his star as egocentric, manipulative and controlling. The article was published just prior to the film's release in December 1976 and Streisand and Pierson have never worked together again. See more »
Before performing at the charity concert John detaches a label from Esther's jacket twice. See more »
Ms. Streisand's clothes from ... Her Closet. See more »
Transferred from the world of Hollywood to the world of rock music, this latest version of A Star Is Born lacks the glamor of the other two, mainly because the field is a less glamorous one. Nevertheless the role of Esther has attracted only the best of players, from Janet Gaynor to Judy Garland and now Barbra Streisand. That's a hat trick hard to beat in any field.
In the other two versions, Fredric March and then James Mason, are a pair of self destructive drunks who when we meet them are on the downward side of their careers and have only one ennobling virtue, their love for Gaynor/Garland. Kris Kristofferson however is a multi-substance abuser and because we're talking about the rock scene has the groupies attached to him. Unlike in the other two versions, Streisand catches him with one and the whole thing about the pure love loses its potency because of it. However the incident does set him up for his final moment of self destruction.
All the supporting characters from the other two versions are completely eliminated. Gary Busey has a nice role as Kristofferson's music arranger who fulfills many of the functions that eliminated characters from the other versions have. The rest of the film's supporting parts are very undefined which makes this version weaker than the others.
But for those who are interested in hearing Barbra sing, A Star Is Born will more than satisfy you. The film got an Oscar for the song Evergreen which Kristofferson and Streisand duet and it became one of her best selling records. Judy Garland was similarly served in her version with The Man That Got Away although that song was nominated and did not win.
A Star Is Born is an enduring tale and I don't think we've seen the last of it. May the next group of players do the story as much justice as the three pairs of co-stars I've cited.
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