A Star is Born
You hear the name Judy Garland and you think Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz”, with maybe Somewhere Over the Rainbow playing in your head. That’s fair for sure, no doubt it is a wonderful movie with a great song that she sings like no other, but I think of “A Star is Born” when I hear that name. It is a fabulous movie with fabulous music and fabulously shot. James Manson plays Norman Maine to Garland’s Esther Blodgett directed by George Cukor with mostly Ira Gershwin’s music. Sounds like a good combo? Well, Warner Brothers thought so and agreed to make the film with Garland’s then husband, Sid Luft, producing in 1954; four years since Garland was in a film after being released from her MGM contract. She earned another Academy Award Nomination and won a Golden Globe for her comeback performance.
Have you heard the song by Ira Gershwin and Harold Arlen – The Man That Got Away? Let me share a secret with you that I can sing that in the shower like no other! I love this song, like a lot. It starts with some sexy horns playing and then Judy let’s out all the passion about losing her man on a night that turns bitter. She tells of how she lost her man and life won’t be the same for her and when she sings it – you not only believe her but you feel like you are her. Oh this song – could just listen to it on repeat. I love that this was shot start to finish and her movement from sitting at the piano to ending at the table with all that hair mussing in the middle!
Another fabulous number is Lose That Long Face which is a super fun dance number with amazing wardrobe and set design with grays and Judy in red. This number follows one of the most dramatic scenes in the film that will surely bring tears to your eyes that won’t last long because you are carried away in this up beat tap number. I love how it is shot and I love the color contrast and I love the toe tapping number and I love how it shows off Judy Garland’s talent for dramatic acting quickly followed by her flawless singing and dancing. Which is totally crazy to me why this was one of the numbers that was cut after the premier back in 1954. The film after completion ran 196 minutes and George Cukor cut it to 182 minutes, which is how it was premiered to rave reviews. The peeps loved it! Jack Warner wanted the theaters to play as many daily shows as possible so he decided to cut it down to 154 minutes, without the director. How making money clouds judgement and makes bad decisions at times – lucky for us the movie is restored to the 182 minutes version which has this fun number in it.
Not sure what you may think of Judy Garland and from what I can gather, either people love her or they don’t get the hype. Guess you can tell that I rather enjoy watching her movies. I think the main reason why I love this movie so much is because it has it all. If you want to laugh, or cry or watch a romance, or see a story about people struggling – wrap it up cause the hunt on Netflix is over. You can tell when you are watching this movie that love and dedication went into this 100% for sure hands down no questions asked, promise. Judy’s career in the movies was at the end when this was made but really you won’t know that watching it. Her performance as well as James Manson and Jack Carson is so on point. Cukor directed these actors to perfection and bought out the best in them. Many people have talked and written about this movie and how it is the best musical and I agree. It does what movies are supposed to do and make you forget your daily life and whatever is going with you. It is the escape into a great story that really is a timeless tale of someone wanting to make it in Hollywood and falls in love along the way.
Amazon has it to rent for $4 and you can add it to you Netflix DVD queue. If you want to start watching classic films – this is a great one to start with and if you are already a movie buff then it is a fun revisit with these characters in their story. A sure must see Judy Garland film.