Noel Coward said of this movie,"It will undoubtedly be a marvelous commercial film,and Julie Andrews and Danny will
be wonderful;so will all those nostalgic,unforgettable songs.
But it won't bear the slightest possible resemblance to the
Gertie we knew".Coward,who was one of Gertrude Lawrence's best
friends and wrote some of Daniel Massey's(who played him)dialogue,was so right!"STAR!" is two films in one.First,it's
basically nothing more than a routine Hollywood musical biogrpahy,full of more fiction than fact.Robert Wise,Saul
Chaplin, and Twentieth Century-Fox spent far too much money on
the sumptuous sets and costumes(which do look beautiful in
Ernest Laszlo's gorgeous Technicolor photography).They should
have spent it on William Fairchild's banal script.And who said
it had to be three hours?Wise and editor William Reynolds should
have cut it by at least one hour.
But secondly, "STAR!" is also a Julie Andrews star vehicle, and
on that level it works.Vocally and dramatically,this is one of
Julie's best performances.Although she was wrong for the part
due to differences in voice and personality, Julie is winning
and winsome here.And she's never looked better on film!And,oh,
that soundtrack!Gershwin,Porter,Weill,and the others have rarely
been perfromed so well(magnificent work by arranger/conductor
Lennie Hayton and his crew!).
All in all,though, this is just a typical big-budget 1960s musical-entertaining for an evening,but nothing more.Not the
horror most critics and fans called it,but not a classic,either.
For a much better musical bio,try Doris Day's "Love Me Or Leave