Sunday Editor’s Pick: A Star Is Born (1954)

by on July 30, 2011Posted in: Editor's Pick

Playing Sun July 31 at 7:30 at FSLC [Program & Tix]


George Cukor’s 1954 musical version of A Star Is Born is a picture whose story extends far beyond the screen. A remake of the 1937 David O. Selznik drama, it stars Judy Garland in a comeback performance engineered to mirror the drama unfolding on film. Although cut significantly after its initial premiere, its legacy lived on; the film was remade once again in 1976, this time starring starring Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and then restored to much of its original form in 1983. More recently, Clint Eastwood has threatened to lens yet another version, starring Beyoncé Knowles in the Judy Garland role. The Cukor classic will likely remain the quintessential interpretation.


Dan Callahan in his feature on Garland for Alt Screen:

That voice new heights in her comeback movie, A Star is Born (1954), especially when she sings “The Man That Got Away” in a dark bar. “No more his eager call,” she sings, holding on “more” and then “call” and making them quiver. “The writing’s on the wall,” she continues, doing the same thing but shooting up even higher vocally. “The dreams you’ve dreamed have all gone astray,” she finishes, and the surprise is that she chooses to hit “The” before “dreams” with her full Phil Spector wall-of-sound lung power. Maybe this is just showing off (the emphasis on that word has nothing to do with the lyrics), but it’s unlike any other sound in movies, an enormous cry of pain dredged up from the bitterest experience.



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