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>
Groucho Marx called Judy Garland not winning an Oscar for A Star Is Born (1954), "the biggest robbery since Brink's." Hedda Hopper later reported that her loss to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl (1954) was the result of the closest Oscar vote up till that time that didn't end in a tie, with just six votes separating the two. In any event, it was a heartbreak from which she never really recovered and which has remained a matter of some controversy ever since. See more »
The terrace outside Esther's Oleander Arms apartment overlooks the twinkling city lights far below, but her address is in the flatlands of Central Hollywood, nowhere near the hills. See more »
[after being introduced to Esther]
Esther Blodgett? Well, we'll do something about that. Anyway, nice to have you with us.
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 »
Much has been written about this movie (to extremely great length) in other reviews, so I'll try to keep this fairly brief and concise.
First, the restored version runs at 176 minutes. The movie originally ran at 181 minutes, but was cut to 154 minutes when theater owners complained that they were losing money due to the excessive length. The cut destroyed the integrity of the movie - director Cukor never saw the movie again. However, the restored version contains stills to replace some of the cut footage, and gives a better sense of the film's power and scope.
Second, all four major studio versions of the story (including "What Price Hollywood?") have their own merits and differ greatly from one another. If you like the story, see them all and compare for yourself. It's quite fun to compare!
Third, definitely see this version for Judy. Sure, Judy's "The Man That Got Away" may be the greatest musical moment on cinema, but it's her dramatic performance that will keep your attention over almost three hours. James Mason is on target, and the supporting cast is fine, but Judy just dominates the screen. It's an opportunity to see a true genius in action at the absolute height of her powers. For more dramatic Judy, see her in "The Clock".
George Cukor was acclaimed as the great director of actresses, and he raises Judy to the height she deserves. I love Judy. This is a 10 out of 10.
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