Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Star is Born

1954 American Feature

Cast: Judy Garland, James Mason, Jack Carson, Charles Bickford, Tom Noonan, Lucy Marlow and Amanda Blake
Director: George Cukor
Writer: Moss Hart, based on the 1937 film A Star is Born, original screenplay by Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell and original story by William A. Wellman and Robert Carson

When small-time lounge singer Esther Blodgett is discovered by movie star Norman Maine, she rises to the top as Vicki Lester while he drinks himself to the bottom, leaving her with a heartwretching choice: love or her dreams.


  • Internet Movie Database: 7.7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 96% / Audience: 79%
  • OMG rating: 10/10

  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available
  • Soundtrack: Available
  • Book: Available


  • Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (Mason), Actress (Garland), Color Art Direction, Color Costume Design, Scoring of a Musical Picture and Original Song ("The Man That Got Away").
  • BAFTA Award nomination for Best Foreign Actress (Garland).
  • Directors Guild of America Award nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures.
  • Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor - Musical/Comedy (Mason) and Best Actress - Musical/Comedy (Garland).
  • Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Written American Musical.

  • Previously filmed in 1937 starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March and subsequently remade again in 1976 starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.
  • The first Warner Brothers motion picture to use CinemaScope, and George Cukor's first fully Technicolor film.
  • The film's producer, Sidney Luft, was Judy Garland's husband at the time.
  • Casting Call: Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Gary Cooper, Errol Flynn, Stewart Granger, Cary Grant, Tyrone Power and Frank Sinatra.
  • George Cukor's final cut ran 182 minutes, but Warner executives, concerned the running time would limit the number of daily showings, made drastic cuts without Cukor. At its final running time of 154 minutes, the film had lost two major musical numbers and several dramatic scenes, including all of Amanda Blake's part.
  • At a cost over $5 million, A Star is Born is one of the most expensive films ever made in Hollywood.
  • Absent from the screen for four years, A Star is Born was heavily promoted as Judy Garland's comeback. When Garland was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, NBC (which was televising the Oscar ceremony) sent a film crew to the hospital room where she was recuperating after giving birth to her son Joey in order to carry her acceptance speech live if she won, but she lost to Grace Kelly (for her performance in The Country Girl). Groucho Marx called Garland's loss "the biggest robbery since Brink's". Hedda Hopper later reported that her loss to Kelly was allegedly the result of the closest Oscar vote up to that time that didn't end in a tie, with just six votes separating the two.
  • Originally released by Columbia Records in 1954, the A Star is Born soundtrack has never been out of print.
  • In 1983, a 176-minute restored version was shown in theaters and then released on home video. The restoration project was a collaboration between the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Warner Brothers. Some of the missing footage had to be reconstructed using production stills, accompanied by the restored original dialogue. The original multi-track stereophonic sound was also restored.
  • In 2000, A Star is Born was inducted into the National Film Registry.
  • In 2002, A Star is Born was ranked #43 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Passions" list.
  • In 2004, "The Man That Got Away" was ranked #11 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Songs" list.
  • In 2006, A Star is Born was ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's "Greatest Movie Musicals" list.

Related Movies:
  • Featured in the documentaries The Men Who Made the Movies: George Cukor and Vito.
  • Spoofed in The Birdcage.
  • Featured in Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows.

Related OMG Posts:

OMG Movie #331

Rate A Star is Born below and add your own reviews in the comments section.

1 comment:

  1. Without question Judy's masterwork. The restored print is fascinating with the photos filling in so much of the relationship between Esther and Norman. That Jack Warner could cut the proposal scene and Lose That Long Face and not think it would damage the film boggles the mind.


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