7.6/10
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59 user 40 critic

A Star Is Born (1937)

Passed | | Drama | 27 April 1937 (USA)
A young woman comes to Hollywood with dreams of stardom, but achieves them only with the help of an alcoholic leading man whose best days are behind him.

Directors:

William A. Wellman, Jack Conway (uncredited)

Writers:

Dorothy Parker (screen play), Alan Campbell (screen play) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
105 ( 70)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Janet Gaynor ... Esther Victoria Blodgett - aka Vicki Lester
Fredric March ... Norman Maine
Adolphe Menjou ... Oliver Niles
May Robson ... Grandmother Lettie Blodgett
Andy Devine ... Danny McGuire
Lionel Stander ... Matt Libby
Owen Moore ... Casey Burke - Director
Peggy Wood ... Miss Phillips - Central Casting Clerk
Elizabeth Jenns ... Anita Regis
Edgar Kennedy ... Pop Randall - Landlord
J.C. Nugent J.C. Nugent ... Mr. Blodgett
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Posture Coach (as Guinn Williams)
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Storyline

A young woman comes to Hollywood with dreams of stardom, but achieves them only with the help of an alcoholic leading man whose best days are behind him.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Fate Raised Her To Fame - and killed the man she loved ! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 April 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Star Is Born See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,173,639 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,360,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When this film was re-released in 1945 by Film Classics, it was not deemed important enough to be reprinted in Technicolor and so prints were struck in the less expensive and far inferior Cinecolor process and this was the only way it was to be seen for the next 30 years, until the Technicolor restoration in the 1970s. See more »

Goofs

In the night court scene, the judge refers to the "commonwealth" but the movie is set in California which isn't one of the states to have commonwealth status. The judge should have referred to the "state" instead. See more »

Quotes

Norman Maine: Do you mind if I take just one more look?
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Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: So... Good Talk (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Wah! Hoo!
(uncredited)
Written by Cliff Friend
Sung by Janet Gaynor
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Swimming with sharks
19 May 2004 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Having seen the two later versions of this tale, it was a surprise to find the original one, even if it doesn't compare with the 50s remake with Judy Garland. This one is worth a look because of the great cinematography and the use of color for a film made in the early years of its invention. William Wellman deserves credit for his direction of a Hollywood story about itself.

The mere idea of young and very naive, Esther Blodgett making it big in Hollywood, is stretching the imagination big time. This girl from the heart of the country yearns to be somebody in the pictures that are her escape from the dreary life she leads. To even think that she would have a chance in becoming a bit player, is a stretch of the imagination, but to have her become a star in her own right with her unsophisticated looks, is even harder to believe. Hollywood of those years was a factory of dreams where many went to be part of it, but for one Esther Blodgett, there were thousands who were rejected.

We watch as Esther is transformed into Vicki Lester, a star larger than life, who captures the public's imagination and goes to eclipse bigger stars such as Norman Maine, her discoverer, and the man she falls in love with. Norman's decline is very fast, while Vicki's ascent into glory is even faster. His drinking habit will get the best of him at a time when help agencies such as A.A. didn't exist. Unfortunately for Vicki, she ultimately has to pay for her own meteoric success.

The cast is superb. Not being a fan of Janet Gaynor, I have to confess that she strikes the right note with her Esther/Vicki role. She is totally believable even though we never even see her take an acting class, much less see her waiting tables to help herself. Frederick March brings an intensity to Norman, the self destructive star, that makes us pity him.

Adolphe Menjou is the studio head who sees a winner in the young, aspiring actress, and gives her the chance. Most surprising of all is the star performance of Lionel Standing as Matt Libby, the studio publicist who is behind the creation of the new star. Andy Devine, May Robson, and the rest are equally satisfying.

This film was a happy surprise in many aspects and will not disappoint.


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