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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In October 1954, after the film had opened and been reviewed, Harry Warner, head of the studio's business side in New York, decided that the picture was too long. He ordered another half-hour of cuts so that exhibitors could get in one more showing per day. By this time, George Cukor was in India filming Bhowani Junction (1956), so he was unable to influence the re-editing of the film. The cuts included an entire sequence in which Norman and Esther lose touch with each other while Norman is on location. A comic scene of her getting sick on the way to her first preview was also deleted, along with two complete numbers, "Here's What I'm Here For," the song Esther is recording when Norman proposes to her, and "Lose That Long Face," the number she does before and after she breaks down in her dressing room. The cuts represented most of the scenes that developed Norman and Esther's relationship. To make matters worse, the studio melted the negative from the cut scenes to retrieve the film's silver content. Word of the cuts hit the press and generated such a strong backlash against the film that attendance dropped precipitously. As a result, despite the film's promising opening, it ended up losing money. See more »
At the end, Norman opens the sliding door and Esther begins to sing. After stepping outside he closes the door completely, yet the sound level of her voice is not reduced. See more »
As Matt Libby (Jack Carson) dictates the cancellation/resignation of Norman Maine's (James Mason) contract, a theater marquee featuring "Black Legion" starring Norman Maine, outside his window is being taken down. "Black Legion" was a 1937 movie starring Humphrey Bogart, one of the actors that turned down the role of Norman Maine for this picture. See more »
In 1983 the film was restored to 176 minutes by Ron Haver. However, although all of the original soundtrack was available, some visual footage couldn't be found: the restored version resorts to a montage of stills, dialogue and music in place of the missing scenes. Director George Cukor died the day before the opening of the restored version. See more »
Michael Arick or Tommy Will You Ever Turn Over Your Print?
This is a great film. Yes it is long. Yes some of the songs should have been cut but they weren't but we get a masterpiece anyway.
In this film Esther Blodgett is a talented aspiring singer with a band, and Norman Maine is a former matinee idol with a career in the early stages of decline. When he arrives intoxicated at a function at the Shrine Auditorium, the studio publicist attempts to keep him away from reporters. After an angry exchange, Norman rushes away and bursts onto a stage where an orchestra is performing. Esther takes him by the hand and pretends he is part of the act, thereby turning a potentially embarrassing and disruptive moment into an opportunity for the audience to greet Norman with applause.
Norman then takes Esther under his wing and gets her a screen test at the studio in which he works. She ends up homecoming a major star and his drinking escalates!
After the film was released Warner Brothers recalled the prints. 30 minutes were edited out. In 1983 Ron Haver was able to restore most of the film. Where he could not find footage for the missing scenes he used productions stills. People claim this halts the picture. It doesn't! Besides it only last a total of 7 minutes. It is not 7 minutes all at once!
Now in 2010 it was reported that film restorer Michael Arick had a print of this film. He will not let Warner Brothers use the print. Some people claim that he doesn't have a print however "He has never publicly denied it".
It is also Rumored that Tommy from Beverly Hills has hours of the films outtakes on VHS however it is silent footage. Maybe it might include the missing 7 minutes.
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