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A Star Is Born (1954) 1954 PG CC

A musical remake of the 1937 drama story of two people, one moving up, the other slipping down the ladder of showbiz success. Features the songs 'Born In A Trunk.

Starring:
Judy Garland, James Mason
Runtime:
2 hours, 55 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance, Musical
Director George Cukor
Starring Judy Garland, James Mason
Supporting actors Jack Carson, Charles Bickford, Tommy Noonan, Lucy Marlow, Amanda Blake, Irving Bacon, Hazel Shermet, James Brown, Laurindo Almeida, Leon Alton, Rudolph Anders, David Armstrong, Phil Arnold, Nadine Ashdown, Gertrude Astor, Jack Baker, Richard H. Bauman, George Becwar
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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6 Comments 85 of 89 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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. In fact, this DVD looks and sounds phenomenally good considering that this movie will be 50 years old in about 4 years.
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