A Star is Born (1954) (Blu-ray)

a star is born 1954I watched Judy Garland and James Mason in George Cukor’s 1954 remake of A Star is Born for the first time this evening. My dear friend Neil who is a huge Judy fan and the most encyclopedic theater queen ever will be happy to finally hear I get the Judy mania. Ms. Garland is stunning in this film as Esther Blodgett – the starving young singer who gets discovered by the boozy Hollywood movie star Norman Maines played perfectly by the elegant James Mason. Judy gets tons of big numbers thanks to music by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin who wrote all the film’s songs except for the Born in a Trunk medley. For me the best song is hands-down The Man That Got Away. It’s signature belt-it-out-girl Judy. Cukor’s team also includes Moss Hart getting screenwriting credits adapting the remake for the 50’s film from the 1937 script by Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell, and Robert Carson with original story by William A. Wellman and Robert Carson. A Star is Born truly is a classic Hollywood film from a time long gone now. They just don’t make movies like this anymore is one way to look at films from this era, this genre. A mash-up of musical, drama and melodrama. Judy is at her best ever – confident, poised, polished, lean, glowing. So sad the details of the film caught up with her own life just 15 years later. Still she remains a legend. A Star is Born is Hollywood at its finest – even if they originally chopped Cukor’s film to pieces, wrecking it for the public and robbing the principals of any Oscars. Ironic given a pivotal scene in the film takes place as Esther gets awarded her own Oscar. Judy wouldn’t be as lucky, but her talent remains for us to cherish. The film was restored in 1983 by adding audio and using stills to fill in for lost footage. It gets a bit confusing how many minutes the original film actually was when it premiered, how many got cut and how many got restored. Check out The Judy Room for OCD details. 5 out of 5 for the classic, Judy Garland’s A Star is Born.

And yes, I now want to revisit Streisand’s 1976 remake I was obsessed with in my youth.

Watch Judy sing her heart out on The Man That Got Away from George Cukor’s 1954 remake of A Star is Born.


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