Monday, 31 January 2011


George Cukor's remake of William Wellman's A STAR IS BORN which, in turn was inspired by Cukor's own WHAT PRICE HOLLYWOOD. No disrespect to Wellman (his film is excellent) but this is one of those rare occasions when the remake is better than the original. I must have first seen the film when I was eight or nine years old and I have seen it three or four times since. Several years ago Warner's undertook a restoration of the film - finding footage that had been cut over the years, even replacing missing scenes with stills where the soundtrack still existed and restoring two important musical numbers and this is the print in circulation now. Having heard that the story is to get yet another remake (there having been one in the 70's directed by Barbra Streisand) this time probably to be helmed by Clint Eastwood, I decided to dig out my copy (unseen since I bought it). The story of singer Esther Blodgett's rise to fame as the career of her actor husband, Norman Maine, begins to wane still packs a powerful emotional punch thanks to the performances of Judy Garland and James Mason (both giving career bests in my opinion) and the support of Charles Bickford, Jack Carson and Tom Noonan. As for George Cukor's direction - well, what can you say about Cukor? There are good films and there are great films - and there are some film masterpieces. I'm sure many would disagree with me and they are more than entitled to their opinion but I think that George Cukor's A STAR IS BORN with its script by Moss Hart and songs by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin is one of the true masterpieces of the American cinema...and I do not say that lightly. Rating *****

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

I dunno I never saw it but it's sure to be dethroned by the Beyonce version, whaddaya think?