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A Star Is Born

242 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A Star is Born marked Judy Garland's return to movies after a four-year absence, director George Cukor's first musical and first color film, and a showcase for great Harold Arden/Ira Gershwin songs in state-of-the-art stereo. One of the most beloved show-business stories of all time, it represents a career peak for many involved. Garland is singer Esther Blodgett, an undeniable talent on the rise. She catches the eye of Norman Maine (James Mason), an alcoholic actor in career decline. Their intense love transforms them both. Only one will survive Hollywood's slings and arrows. Shortened in response to exhibitor complaints after its premiers, the movie underwent one rebirth in 1983 when film historian Ronald Haver found almost all the cut sequences and supervised a reconstruction to near its original length. Its new rebirth is this breathtaking digital surround stereo track and incorporating picture and musical material recently found in the vaults. Star always had a shine to it. Now watch it sparkle as never before.

Special Features

  • September 29, 1954 Hollywood Premiere Network Telecast
  • Post-Premiere Party Highlights Shot at the Cocoanut Grove
  • 3 Alternate Filmings of The Man That Got Away, Incorporating Additional Original Recording Session Music
  • Deleted Musical Number, When My Sugar Walks Down the Street
  • Theatrical Trailers of This and the 1937 and 1976 Versions

Product Details

  • Actors: Judy Garland, James Mason, Jack Carson, Charles Bickford, Tommy Noonan
  • Directors: George Cukor
  • Writers: Alan Campbell, Dorothy Parker, Moss Hart, Robert Carson, William A. Wellman
  • Producers: Jack L. Warner, Sidney Luft
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 19, 2000
  • Run Time: 154 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JQU9
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,669 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Star Is Born" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 16, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Many films have a convoluted history, but few so much as A STAR IS BORN. The basic story of a famous Hollywood alcoholic who promotes the career of an unknown--only to see her star rise as his falls--was based on the lives of a number of silent-era figures and first filmed in 1932 as WHAT PRICE HOLLYWOOD? After a number of plot changes, the story reemerged in 1937 as A STAR IS BORN starring Janet Gaynor and Frederic March. Then, in the 1940s, A STAR IS BORN was recycled into a radio play--and the leading lady was Judy Garland.

Garland's private life was difficult, and in 1950 she made a highly publicized suicide attempt. When she proved unable to recover herself quickly, she was fired by MGM amid much negative publicity, and it was assumed her career was over. But within a few years Garland reemerged as a powerful concert performer, and momentum began to build toward a screen comeback. Garland, who recalled her radio presentation with fondness, suggested A STAR IS BORN.

The production was plagued with problems. A number of leading actors turned down the male lead before James Mason accepted. A considerable portion of the film was shot when Warner Brothers decided to present it in Cinemascope, and this entailed scrapping all previous footage reshooting from scratch. Garland herself proved typically highstrung, and her temperament led to numerous delays. The budget ran out of control, and by the time A STAR IS BORN arrived on the screen it had become the single most expensive film made up to that time.

The film's opening seemed to justify all the difficulty and expense. Critics were positive and the public was eager.
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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Allen Smalling TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 27, 2004
Format: DVD
The film A STAR IS BORN, the 1954 Judy Garland musical for Warner Bros., has been through nearly as many trials and tribulations as any real-life movie-star wannabe to maintain its reputation and realism. The director--George Cukor's--love/hate letter to the joys and sorrows of Hollywood stardom came in just over three hours long--181 minutes. In an ironic affirmation of the film's recognition that "the lush days are over" for Hollywood, the studio cut the actual release print down to 154 minutes so that theater owners could squeeze in one extra screening per evening. That is the only version we had between 1954 and 1983, and any revivals, cinematheque offerings or TV broadcasts--quite enough to sustain the cult of the movie and Judy Garland's bravura performance as a Hollywood star married to an alcoholic has-been--sprang from that truncated release.
In 1983, a partially restored, 170-minute-long version of A STAR IS BORN hit first-run movie screens after long and loving archival and editorial struggle. It was a matter of using anything available to make up for the scenes Warner Bros. had hacked out--stills, amateur home movies made from the set, audio tracks--anything. Most significantly, the restoration reinstituted the entire portion of the movie which appear in the DVD as all of Chapters 14, 15 and 16 in which Garland's character takes a long-shot chance at an acting career; but although that enhanced plot-line was reintegrated into the movie, the static and museum-like restoration was in many ways more admirable than lovable. Still, it gets across the idea that Judy Garland's character--singer Esther Blodgett--faced her own trials and tribulations on the way to becoming "Vicki Lester" the film star.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2001
Format: DVD
Judy Garland, arguably the greatest female pop singer of the Twentieth Century, gives the performance of a lifetime in this 1954 musical remake of the 1937 dramatic film of the same name (also available on DVD in a superb transfer). This movie was perceived as Garland's comeback vehicle since she had not made a film for four years prior and she certainly delivers the goods both dramatically and vocally. Her singing here is in total service of the music rather than the audience, with none of the over the top indulgences evident in her stage appearances. The end result is mesmerizing. Garland's standout rendition of "The Man That Got Away" deserves special mention since it fully lives up to its hype as one of the greatest vocal performances of all time.
James Mason matches Garland every step of the way and in some areas surpasses her in the role of her alcoholic husband whose star is waning as hers is rising. In fact, the entire cast, including Charles Bickford, Jack Carson and Tommy Noonan give excellent performances. Director George Cukor seems to have known just when to reign in Garland and exactly when to let her go and do what she does best. This is especially evident in the "Born In A Trunk" musical number. Cukor also shows a flair for getting the best out of the then new wide screen CinemaScope process. His framing of the scenes has an intimacy appropriate to the story but seems revolutionary for a wide screen picture even today. This DVD showcases the original 2.55: 1 aspect ratio in which A Star Is Born was shown for its initial theatrical presentation and a newly mixed soundtrack preserves the discrete multi-channel stereophonic sound as well.
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Star is Born
Let me know if you have the shortened version on DVD. It's listed as 154 minutes long.
Mar 25, 2011 by Hollywood Hack |  See all 2 posts
Aspect Ratio
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"My one nitpick involves the film's framing. A quick comparison between Warner's new 2.55:1 transfer and its DVD counterpart (initially released in 2000 and reissued as a Collector's Edition in 2001) reveals a number of interesting, albeit admittedly... Read More
Jun 22, 2010 by S. P. McCauley |  See all 2 posts
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