Sunday, December 18, 2016

"A Star Is Born": a classic (made 3 times), good to compare to "La La Land"

I still remember an AIDS benefit in Dallas in 1984, which I believe was held in Fair Park, showing “A Star Is Born”, the 1954 film directed by George Cukor, from Warner Brothers, billed as in the original CinemaScope.  I believe this was the restored version running 176 minutes.  I saw it with a “boyfriend” who was a resident physician.  He was able to get time off.

Judy Garland plays Esther Blodgett, an aspiring singer from a band, who meets a matinee idol actor Norman Maine (James Mason) who helps get her career going as Vicki Lester, even as his own life descends into alcoholism.  The film was a remake of a 1937 film by William Wellman and would be remade in 1976 by Frank Pierson.

But the 1954 film is generally considered the best, and Roger Ebert had praised it as a real PG-13 film for grownups, dealing with real issues of self-control.

The concept of the film bears a certain affinity to “La La Land” (reviewed yesterday on my Wordpress media commentary blog) and even my own screenplay script “Make the A-List” (2002).

There is a YouTube version that claims to be complete and of the 1954 film, but is really the 1937 (from Selznick International/ United Artists, but in color).

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