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A Star Is Born (1954)

Passed | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 16 October 1954 (USA)
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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 »
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Popularity
3,806 ( 300)
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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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:

$14,933,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Transcona Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Groucho Marx called Judy Garland's 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 »

Goofs

At the recording session for "Here's What I'm Here For", Esther runs across the studio to Norman during the chorus break, whereby a sound man moves his boom mic over to them to pick up their conversation already in progress. However in the playback, their conversation begins at scratch, immediately after the beginning of the chorus break. See more »

Quotes

Norman Maine: Do you ever go fishing?
[Esther looks confused]
Norman Maine: Well, do you like prizefi--have you ever watched a great fighter?
Esther Blodgett: I-I uh--
Norman Maine: I'm trying to tell you how you sing.
Esther Blodgett: Do you mean like a prizefighter or a fish?
Norman Maine: Look...em--
[leads her into a kitchen]
Norman Maine: There are certain pleasures that you get--
[realizes that the sound of clanging dishes is intolerable and they depart for the outside]
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 Huntington 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
See more »


Soundtracks

Swanee
(uncredited)
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Irving Caesar
Performed by Judy Garland as part of the "Born in a Trunk" medley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Judy Garland at Her Best
22 June 2005 | by drednmSee all my reviews

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 March—both 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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