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>
Judy Garland was on her best behaviour during the early days of shooting, but she slowly lost control. She first called in sick on November 9, which kept her off the film for four days. She got sick again shooting outdoor locations and missed three more days. She was sick again for two days in December. Then they had to postpone a scene because she didn't like her costume. Other days, she had to leave early because she was too tired or sick to go on. By February, they were 41 days behind schedule. In late March, she took two weeks off to get herself off all prescription medications. Ultimately, the production would drag on for nine months. See more »
The Shrine Auditorium benefit which opens the film takes place in Los Angeles, but a very prominently displayed TV camera displays the call letters WABD which at that time was the DuMont Television Network's New York City station, broadcasting on Channel 5, and would not have a camera crew on hand in Los Angeles to record such an event. 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 »
Contrary to popular belief, the film was not originally at 181 minutes, but rather 196 (3hrs. and 16mins.) at a post-premiere shown on August 8, 1954 in Hunnington Park, California. After its second post-premiere - the very next day - two scenes of 15 minutes total were deleted; making the film run its original world debut length at 181 minutes. One was a number called "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street" that came after Judy's take of "I'll Get By" in the 'Born in the Trunk' sequence, the other was a scene where Garland and James Mason's characters (Vicki and Norman) were picnicking on the beach; production stills and promotional advertisements are the only thing left in existence of the footage. After its world premiere on September 29, 1954, 27 minutes was cut, bringing it down to a mediocre 154 time length. Those scenes were:
1) Esther quitting the band
2) The Trinidad Coconut Oil Shampoo
3) Esther working at a drive-in
4) Norman being driven away drunk in his car
5) Norman inquiring Esther's old landlady
6) Spotting Esther on the TV commercial
7) Tracking down Esther at her new boarding residence
8) Driving down the strip - Esther getting sick
9) "Here's What I'm Here For" musical number - Norman proposes
10) "Lose That Long Face" musical number - Vicki breaks down
The 1954 musicalized version of A Star Is Born is a great film. Judy Garland and James Mason (both Oscar nominated) turn in terrific performance as Esther and Norman. Like its 1937 predecessor (which starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric Marchboth Oscar nominated), the 1954 version follows the ups and down of two people set against the vicious world of Hollywood. The newer version sticks to the basic story but adds some great numbers for Garland, including "The Man That Got Away" and "I Was Born in a Trunk." In a major comeback, Garland had not worked in films since Summer Stock (1950), and her performance here is the best of her career. That she lost the Oscar to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl is one of Hollywood's great inequities. Mason lost to Marlon Brando for On the Waterfront. Garland sings superbly and is a great comic and dramatic actress. Her Esther is more vulnerable than Gaynor's just as Mason's Norman is more pathetic than March's. I love both versions. Charles Bickford and Jack Carson play the other major parts, played by Adolphe Menjou and Lionel Stander in 1937. Two major supporting roles from the 1937 version were cut from the 1954 version: Esther's first Hollywood friend (Andy Devine) and her intrepid grandmother (the great May Robson). But Garland's musical numbers make up for their absence. Oddly, despite the great hullabaloo surrounding A Star Is Born, it was not nominated for best picture, and George Cukor was bypassed in the directing category. One of the best musicals ever made.
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