7.6/10
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159 user 85 critic

A Star Is Born (1954)

Passed | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 16 October 1954 (USA)
Trailer
4:21 | Trailer
A film star helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career on a downward spiral.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Moss Hart (screen play by), Dorothy Parker (based on the 1937 screen play by) | 4 more credits »
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Judy Garland ... Esther Blodgett / Vicki Lester
James Mason ... Norman Maine
Jack Carson ... Matt Libby
Charles Bickford ... Oliver Niles
Tommy Noonan ... Danny McGuire (as Tom Noonan)
Lucy Marlow ... Lola Lavery
Amanda Blake ... Susan Ettinger
Irving Bacon ... Graves
Hazel Shermet Hazel Shermet ... Libby's Secretary
James Brown ... Glenn Williams
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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:

"IT IS SOMETHING TO SEE THIS 'STAR IS BORN'! STUNNING!" N.Y. Times See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cary Grant at first accepted, then turned down the role of Norman Maine, citing semi-retirement as his reason. After Grant's death, his widow revealed that Garland's drug addiction made the actor have second thoughts and drop out of the film. See more »

Goofs

At the Sneak Preview at the Marcopia Theatre, the first sequence of the Born in a Trunk number, which Garland and Mason are apparently watching from the balcony, is projected in 16:9 ratio, but the rest of the number, as viewed by members of the film audience, in the film itself, is in CinemaScope in the much wider 2.55:1 wide screen ratio. See more »

Quotes

Vicki Lester: [Norman has finished looking through her scrapbook] You know as much about me as I do myself. But... you see how long it's taken me to get this far. Now, all I need is just a little luck.
Norman Maine: What kind of luck?
Vicki Lester: Oh, the kind of luck that every girl singer with a band dreams of - one night a big talent scout from a big record company might come in and he'll let me make a record.
Norman Maine: Yes, and then?
Vicki Lester: Well, the record will become number one on the Hit Parade, it'll be played on the jukeboxes all over the country....
[...]
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Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

References An American in Paris (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

You Took Advantage of Me
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Performed by Judy Garland as part of the "Born in a Trunk" medley
See more »

User Reviews

Special praise for Turner Classic Movies!
23 August 2003 | by gregcoutureSee all my reviews

On a brief getaway this past weekend, the hotel where I was staying had TCM (Turner Classic Movies) on its cable roster and, lo! and behold, there was Judy singing and acting her heart out in letterbox and stereo sound. TCM...you're the best!

It was the restored version, thank the good Lord, with that sad reminder of Warner Brothers' pathetic timidity in trashing Cukor's original cut, but recalling for us his masterful use of the widescreen ratio. (A "formatted" version would be simply unwatchable, what with numerous scenes played by actors perched on the outer reaches of the screen, opposite each other.)

James Mason turns in an absolutely brilliant performance, especially when one recalls the rigors of production, with filming going months over schedule, due to Judy's unhappy vicissitudes (so evident in her appearance even within the same scene!) With the very able support of Charles Bickford, as the most benign studio head ever, and Jack Carson proving why Warners kept him employed so often for so many years.

Plus musical direction taking fabulous advantage of Warners' studio orchestra (and WB's sound technicians who were, for several decades running, the envy of all the other major studios), and arrangements that must have overwhelmed first-run audiences with their incredible richness.

It's a must-see, all right, and is in a class by itself, among the several screen versions of this beloved Hollywood saga.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 October 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Star Is Born See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,019,770 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,335,968

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,348,890
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Transcona Enterprises See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (premiere) | (restored) | (DVD) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound System) (magnetic prints)| Mono (optical prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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