As a person who is not old enough to have seen Judy Garland films while she was alive but having heard and read so much about her prodigious talent it was very interesting for me to watch this film. It was my first time seeing a Judy Garland film other than "The Wizard of Oz". And like the title of the film says a star was born for me while watching it. This is a total star vehicle for Garland as it shows off her singing, acting and dancing talents. It is definitely a memorable performance by this triple threat.
The film was cut or edited drastically before it premiered in 1954. Then in 1983 some of the original film was restored by film historian Ronald Hauer. Now 56 years later the longest version of the film is being released in a beautiful blu-ray version. This version is 1 hour longer than the 1954 version, but it won't seem like it.
Unknown band singer Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland) gets discovered, then involved with, then married to screen legend Norman Maine (James Mason – Yellowbeard, The Verdict). He recognizes her incredible talent one night watching her perform in a show and sees she makes her way to the top. Maine is older than her and because of his alcoholism his time has passed in the spotlight. Hers is just beginning.
Some have called "A Star is Born" a beautiful love story, but in actuality what it is a one woman tour de force. It is hard for me to believe that Judy Garland did not win for Best Actress or the film did not win for Best Score at the Oscars.
The Arlen/Gershwin score is great – one of the better ones done through film history. The songs contain the darkness, melancholy and verve that leant themselves to the huge voice that Garland possessed. She ate it up and sold every note.
The story is an adult one and the performances by Mason and Garland are emotionally perfect and powerful. Both are able to convey the pain and tragedy required of them convincingly.
Besides Judy and her powerful voice the second star of the production is cinematographer Sam Leavitt (Cape Fear, Exodus). Leavitt's use of Cinemascope and Technicolor is second to none. The colours are stunning.
-The Man That Got Away Deleted Scenes
-When My Sugar Walks Down the Street Outtake
-Film Effects Reel
-A Report by Jack L. Warner
-Huge Premiere Hails A Star is Born Newsreel Montage
-A Star is Born Premiere in Cinemascope
-Pantages Premiere TV Special
-A Star is Bored