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A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born

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A Star Is Born – Norman Maine, a movie star whose career is on the wane, meets showgirl Esther Blodgett when he drunkenly stumbles into her act one night. A friendship develops, then blossoms into romance before tensions increase as Esther’s career takes off while Norman’s continues to plummet.

STARS: Judy Garland, James Mason, Jack Carson

154 min | Drama, Musical, Romance | 1954 | Color


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A Savage Story, Made Perfect in its Restored Version.
The year 1954 proved to be one of the professional best for Judy Garland, as she did an outstanding comeback in A STAR IS BORN, a part that if not meant for her originally when the first version of this movie was filmed as WHAT PRICE HOLLYWOOD?(1932), was the one which she made her own and to this day is the most referred to and remembered for the sheer emotional honesty and power to which acted the part of Esther Blodgett. That is was not awarded by the Academy in favor for a more "correct" acting by Grace Kelly is one of those great injustices that has been done, and that its competition with ON THE WATERFRONT was too tight to garner it any of the major awards was just bad timing on its release (today the results would have been different, dividing the awards), but time has eventually healed these major slips -- at least on Judy Garland's favor, the greater of the two actresses by a long shot -- and as a movie, it still holds up today in its poignant portrayal of a marriage destroyed by alcoholism and the coldness of the media closely watching its disintegration.
Originally at 154 minutes, the restored, 179 minute version is the best to watch because it does effectively tie up some plot holes and the way Mason's character eventually meets up with Garland's who is wondering if he was serious about making her a star -- the transition in the first, cut version would have been too easy and unbelievable, a borderline fairytale. Both Garland and Mason tackle difficult parts flawlessly without going over the top in histrionics but giving both their characters a painful, human dignity that should not have been lost on the Academy even then, and Mason's descent into alcoholism and later, self-sacrificial suicide is one of the most heartbreaking ever committed on film, even if in reality, it was Garland who was the ravaged, addicted star.

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