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NEW Garland/mason - Star Is Born (Blu-ray)

4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 25.87
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NEW Garland/mason - Star Is Born (Blu-ray) + Cabaret: 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray Book]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Couldn't Be More Pleased June 27 2004
The film A STAR IS BORN, the 1954 Judy Garland musical for Warner Bros., has been through nearly as many trials and tribulations as any real-life movie-star wannabe to maintain its reputation and realism. The director--George Cukor's--love/hate letter to the joys and sorrows of Hollywood stardom came in just over three hours long--181 minutes. In an ironic affirmation of the film's recognition that "the lush days are over" for Hollywood, the studio cut the actual release print down to 154 minutes so that theater owners could squeeze in one extra screening per evening. That is the only version we had between 1954 and 1983, and any revivals, cinematheque offerings or TV broadcasts--quite enough to sustain the cult of the movie and Judy Garland's bravura performance as a Hollywood star married to an alcoholic has-been--sprang from that truncated release.
In 1983, a partially restored, 170-minute-long version of A STAR IS BORN hit first-run movie screens after long and loving archival and editorial struggle. It was a matter of using anything available to make up for the scenes Warner Bros. had hacked out--stills, amateur home movies made from the set, audio tracks--anything. Most significantly, the restoration reinstituted the entire portion of the movie which appear in the DVD as all of Chapters 14, 15 and 16 in which Garland's character takes a long-shot chance at an acting career; but although that enhanced plot-line was reintegrated into the movie, the static and museum-like restoration was in many ways more admirable than lovable. Still, it gets across the idea that Judy Garland's character--singer Esther Blodgett--faced her own trials and tribulations on the way to becoming "Vicki Lester" the film star.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Dec 15 2003
Judy Garland was an actress of the true MGM mold - that is to say, she knew how to do it bigger, better and louder than everybody else. True of her life, her concert performances and most of her film appearances, and in this 1954 release, she does Warner Bros. proud by being her good old MGM self for an almost three-hour epic.
Surely one of Hollywood's most melodramatic love stories, 'A Star is Born' follows the lives of Esther Blodgett (Garland), a talented star on the rise, and Norman Maine (James Mason), a once-major talent in fast alcoholic decline. They suffer the slings and arrows of the Hollywood machine, and in the end, only one career can survive.
What's truly unique about 'A Star Is Born' is the palpable sincerity and tenderness with which Mason and Garland play their parts. Mason is on top form as Norman maine, and gives a wholly believable account of a man seeking redemption through nurturing a new talent. He's a perfect match for Judy in every way - where her performance is big and larger-than-life, so is his. The actors have a delightful chemistry, a believable bond that fixes us to their story.
Garland gives what must be the greatest performance of her career, imbuing the realtively ordinary part of Blodgett with a luminosity and innocence rarely portrayed in film. When she cries, we truly believe she is sad. When she smiles, we are happy for her. But when she sings, she opens up her character to the audience in a way quite unlike any other. Even in her big, blowzy numbers like 'Swannee' and 'You Gotta Have Me Go With You', she lets her vulnerability and frailty shine through, and we are truly in awe of her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Classic Restored On DVD Sept. 16 2003
Many films have a convoluted history, but few so much as A STAR IS BORN. The basic story of a famous Hollywood alcoholic who promotes the career of an unknown--only to see her star rise as his falls--was based on the lives of a number of silent-era figures and first filmed in 1932 as WHAT PRICE HOLLYWOOD? After a number of plot changes, the story reemerged in 1937 as A STAR IS BORN starring Janet Gaynor and Frederic March. Then, in the 1940s, A STAR IS BORN was recycled into a radio play--and the leading lady was Judy Garland.
Garland's private life was difficult, and in 1950 she made a highly publicized suicide attempt. When she proved unable to recover herself quickly, she was fired by MGM amid much negative publicity, and it was assumed her career was over. But within a few years Garland reemerged as a powerful concert performer, and momentum began to build toward a screen comeback. Garland, who recalled her radio presentation with fondness, suggested A STAR IS BORN.
The production was plagued with problems. A number of leading actors turned down the male lead before James Mason accepted. A considerable portion of the film was shot when Warner Brothers decided to present it in Cinemascope, and this entailed scrapping all previous footage reshooting from scratch. Garland herself proved typically highstrung, and her temperament led to numerous delays. The budget ran out of control, and by the time A STAR IS BORN arrived on the screen it had become the single most expensive film made up to that time.
The film's opening seemed to justify all the difficulty and expense. Critics were positive and the public was eager. But Warner Brothers remained concerned about the film's length--and although director George Cukor offered to recut the film gratis, the studio hacked it apart.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Star Is Born [1954] [Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [US...
A Star Is Born [1954] [Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [US Import] ‘A Star Is Born’ marked Judy Garland's return to movies after a four-year absence, director George... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Andrew C. Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars the 50's spells changes....in often told story
The 50's spells the birth of television, which drained movie houses of their audiences as everyone stayed home to watch tv with Lucy and Milton Berle, and some good programming, so... Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2012 by Anthony Marinelli
5.0 out of 5 stars What's a 'title'?
I don't have time to give a review that it at least 20 words long. What's wrong with just giving a star rating?
Published on Nov. 29 2011 by Richard B. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST transfer EVER
This movie never looked so good. Excellent transfer to BluRay. I'll skip the movie itself - too many critics in the world anyway. Oh okay, 10 outta 10 star film. Read more
Published on July 28 2010 by Bill S
2.0 out of 5 stars Average musical Poor Blu ray restoration
Meant as a vehicle for Judy Garland's come back, it did and does showcase her extrordinary talents especially in set pieces like her rendition of "The Man Who Got Away" however as... Read more
Published on July 25 2010 by Michael Ratcliffe
3.0 out of 5 stars A Star is Born
I read all the reviews listed prior to purchasing and I didn't read anywhere that reconstruction actually meant that they put black and white still pictures in the place of the... Read more
Published on May 13 2004 by "frankenichols"
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Musical
The best. Absolutely the best film Hollywood has ever offered. It is a musical which has not only heartwarming songs and dances but one with a real plot, a story so often repeated... Read more
Published on March 18 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Has it Flaws but Also Has it's Good Moments!
I like Judy Garland and think she was tremendously talanted as both an actress and a singer so when I was watching A Star is Born on AMC or TCM I thought it was an entertaining... Read more
Published on March 4 2004 by Thebookwoman
1.0 out of 5 stars What a Dud!
This is without a doubt both Judy Garlands and James Mason's worst movies!
What a shame becasue they are truly both truly talented but this one just wasn't up to par with... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Pick Out 1 Version Over the Other, You Miss Out!
People have a tendency to state which version of a "Star is Born" is BETTER than the other and which version you should buy, the one with Janet Gaynor or the one with... Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2004 by AVID MOVIE WATCHER
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