A Star is Born (1954) – Encore Review


“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, with a whimper.” – Matt Libby

Number of Times Seen – 2 (3 Jun 2018 and 21 Oct 2018)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – A famous actor spots a talented young singer/actress and helps her start a new career in Hollywood.

My Take on it – This film takes the story and veers it slightly in the direction of movie musicals instead of staying as a pure drama.

Having now watched the latest version of this story (and subsequently all 4 versions within a 24 hour period), it helps give me another view on the story and the effect it has on the themes it presents and the face of fame.

The story remains timeless and the fact that it has been made into a movie 4 times says so much about how much people love this storyline.

They do a great job of fleshing out the story and characters more than in any of the other 3 versions because they don’t seem to mind to spend time developing them in order for us to care even more about them.

James Mason and Judy Garland are both perfectly cast here as the leads and they have great chemistry together which also helps keep things quite realistic the whole way through.

The nuance used to slightly tweak the overall story is a shift from actress to musical actress who can both act, sing and dance.

This is what helps the story jump from the film industry to the music industry in the next two remakes of the story.

Having said that, the musical scenes seem a bit out of place here and hurts the film slightly even if it was the heyday of movie musicals.

This film was very deservingly nominated for 6 Oscars including Actor and Actress yet didn’t manage to win any of them.

Bottom Line – Great story that remains as timeless as can be (how many films have been remade 3 times?). The story dives quite deeply into the lives of the characters and doesn’t mind spending time developing them so that we will care so much about them. Mason and Garland are both superb in the leads and truly make us believe that they are the characters they portray. Liked the nuance used here to add music to the storyline which subsequently helped the story traverse the scope of movies to the music industry for the two subsequent versions of the story.  That being said, the use of movie musicals as a backdrop here hurts the film slightly because it makes those scenes with the musical numbers seem quite out of place even if the 1950’s was the decade when movie musicals were on an up-stride.  Very deserving of its 6 Oscar nominations including Best Actor and Actress. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia –  George Cukor offered Marlon Brando the role of Norman Maine on the set of Julius Caesar (1953). “Why would you come to me?” asked Brando. “I’m in the prime of my life… If you’re looking around for some actor to play an alcoholic has-been, he’s sitting right over there”- pointing at his costar James Mason, who got the part. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10) (upgrade from original review)

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2 thoughts on “A Star is Born (1954) – Encore Review

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1954 | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1954 | MovieRob

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