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>
George Cukor offered Marlon Brando the role of Norman Maine on the set of Julius Caesar (1953). "Why would you come to me?" asked Brando. "I'm in the prime of my life... If you're looking around for some actor to play an alcoholic has-been, he's sitting right over there"- pointing at his costar James Mason, who got the part. See more »
When Esther and Norman are in Norman's convertible, the distance between them keeps changing between shots. See more »
[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.
What kind of luck?
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.
Yes, and then?
Well, the record will become number one on the Hit Parade, it'll be played on the jukeboxes all over the ...
[...] 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 »
In a career of classic performances this may be Judy Garland's best role and one that certainly uses her many talents to the hilt. James Mason gives an Oscar caliber performance as well and I believe in almost any other year that he wasn't up against Brando's "On the Waterfront" performance he would and should have won.
This George Cukor film features gorgeous color and beautiful cinematography, but does suffer from choppy editing that may be the result of restored footage. The project to restore over an hour of missing footage scrapped by the producers after the original length was in excess of four and a half hours may have been done with the best intentions, but is still incomplete and leaves the film disjointed and obviously lacking. I certainly wish the original footage was never scrapped, but this spotty attempt at restoration makes you feel like your watching more of a project than a classic film. Sometimes less is more and definitely in this case.
Whatever you do make sure you see the widescreen version of this film that was originally shot in Cinemascope or you will only see about a third of the actual picture and I assure you, you won't want to miss any of it.
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