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A Star Is Born1937

  • 3.8
Esther Blodgett (Janet Gaynor) comes to Hollywood with dreams of stardom only to have them shattered by a ruthless, cold-hearted town without pity, where the chances of finding fame are one in a hundred thousand. Enter falling (and falling down drunk) movie star Norman Maine (Fredric March), whom Esther meets at a Hollywood party. Maine gets Esther a screen test and she's an instant success. The publicity machine sets about recreating the small-town girl. But as Esther (reborn as Vicki Lester) rises to celebrity, Norman's stardom plummets, landing him in an alcoholic depression from which true love and Tinseltown fantasy may not be able to rescue him. Won a Honorary Award and Best Original Story, and recieved several nominations at the 1938 Academy Awards®.

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"This classic drama was a rare instance of serious public self-reflection by Hollywood in an era when stars’ scandalous off-screen behaviors were generally kept hushed-up by their studios." - Dennis Harvey, Keyframe


2 members like this review

The some-what edited (down from 119 minutes) first sound and color version of "A Star Is Born". The 8-odd missing minutes make it seem a bit more "dated" than it really is. David O. Selznick produced this movie and shot it entirely on a soundstage, with the few exceptions of the Los Angles exteriors. It's shown in 3:4 format instead of 5:9(as the theatrical release) which causes some unpleasant side "cropping". The "print" shown is not the worst I've seen, but being the Technicolor "slow process" is certainly isn't the best print I've seen or close to a "restored" copy. Thankfully it's better than Jack Warner's butchered version of "A Star Is Born" with Judy Garland, where more than an hour of original film is gone. William Wellman directed this as though this movie was made circa 1934-35, and the editing was made by committee. Fredric March's talent is well hidden by Wellman's heavy-handed direction and pacing. None the less, it's still a great Hollywood Classic, in every sense of the word, a bit stilted, and out-of-date, but a fine way to pass an hour and a half. Look a bit and you can find outstanding performances by both Fredrick March and Janet Gaynor in other films, though probably black and white. Make certain to miss the 1975 version starring Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Strissen of this film.

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Member Reviews (8)

The some-what edited (down from 119 minutes) first sound and color version of "A Star Is Born". The 8-odd missing minutes make it seem a bit more "dated" than it really is. David O. Selznick produced this movie and shot it entirely on a soundstage, with the few exceptions of the Los Angles exteriors. It's shown in 3:4 format instead of 5:9(as the theatrical release) which causes some unpleasant side "cropping". The "print" shown is not the worst I've seen, but being the Technicolor "slow process" is certainly isn't the best print I've seen or close to a "restored" copy. Thankfully it's better than Jack Warner's butchered version of "A Star Is Born" with Judy Garland, where more than an hour of original film is gone. William Wellman directed this as though this movie was made circa 1934-35, and the editing was made by committee. Fredric March's talent is well hidden by Wellman's heavy-handed direction and pacing. None the less, it's still a great Hollywood Classic, in every sense of the word, a bit stilted, and out-of-date, but a fine way to pass an hour and a half. Look a bit and you can find outstanding performances by both Fredrick March and Janet Gaynor in other films, though probably black and white. Make certain to miss the 1975 version starring Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Strissen of this film.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

A classic.

I have seen the two remakes, however recently saw the original and liked it very much. I thought the two stars did a fine job of acting and it touched my heart more than I expected. While my favorite will always be the Judy Garland version, this film is a definite must see.

Emotional, great dialogue very typical of that period..enjoyed it very much!!

It,s Go! Says Bruno!

It has all the usual stereotypes of its time, but all the more interesting to compare it with the later version, featuring Judy Garland and James Mason...

This is one of my all time favorite movies and no matter how many time I see it, I cry every time.

It was ok.