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4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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"Come on, Oscar--let's you and me get drunk." This caustic Bette Davis line is not aimed at a co-star but at the Academy Award itself, which down-on-her-luck actress Margaret Elliot cradles bitterly at the beginning of an inebriated evening. As you can guess, Davis is at full-throttle in his ripe melodrama, which came a couple of years after All About Eve and serves as a kind of less-classy companion piece to that classic. As the movie begins, Margaret has lost her career and family because of her own demanding nature. Rescued by a roughhewn boatbuilder (Sterling Hayden) she once befriended, she confronts what's most important--being a star, or being a (ahem) woman.

The rickety script and cut-rate production values betray The Star as a product of Davis's post-Warners wanderings. It does have some sunny location shots of San Pedro, plus a young Natalie Wood before she broke out of child-star roles. But the biggest draw, other than Davis, is the Hollywood behind-the-scenes juice, and the guessing game of how close the material was to Davis's own career (rumor has it the character, who wants to glamorize herself for a supporting part as a slatternly housemaid, was based more on Joan Crawford). It ain't art, but it's an artifact of a different era, skipping between backstage expose and camp. --Robert Horton

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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars GOING, GOING.....GONE. Sept. 14 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Supposedly, this film was based on Joan Crawford's career but who knows?. At any rate, it's an absorbing tale of a washed-up drunken movie star who witnesses her own auction then claws tooth and nail for a comeback but finds life is more meaningful when you're Human. Davis is fine as The Star and the supporting cast is good (including child star Natalie Wood as The Star's estranged little girl). The film is b&w giving it that High Drama look and feel. Sterling Hayden is a one-time co-star (now a curiously butch boat builder) who ends up saving Davis from self-destruction. But this is a Davis vehicle and she was Oscar nominated for it and she's always watchable throughout. She has many memorable scenes including one where she puts her Oscar on the dashboard of her car and says, "C,mon, Oscar, let's you and me get drunk." She gets a DUI and ends up in jail. Yet another finds her being rehabilitated selling lingerie behind a counter and insulting the customers who recognize her. So much to enjoy here for Davis fans, it really needs DVD release. 5 stars for "The Star".
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5.0 out of 5 stars "...now GET me that part in "The Fatal Winter!" April 18 2002
Format:VHS Tape
I'm shocked that so many reviewers here were disappointed in Bette Davis' appearance, wardrobe, lighting and make up in this film. People, she was playing a dead broke has been. She looked perfect for this role as Margaret Elliot, the once glamorous Oscar-winning star of the movies. Had she looked like the stylish Margo Channing of "All About Eve", her "Margaret Elliot" wouldn't have been as convincing.
Okay, the script wasn't perfect, but Davis approached this material like a true professional and gave the role everything she had, which was plenty. Davis never really cared about the way she looked and accepted the fact that she was no Garbo or Jean Harlow. She had played unglamorous parts many times before. Miss Davis was a true actress, an artist.
The picture is "dark", yes, but if it had been anything else, it would have ruined this film. The atmosphere created by the director was appropriate for the situation. Margaret was in trouble. She was scared to death and was desperate to get "back where I belong." She felt that "one good part" was all she needed.
After throwing her sister and brother-in-law out of her modest apartment in a screaming rage, Margaret grabs her Oscar, buys a cheap bottle of hooch and takes a drunken ride through the streets of Beverly Hills, stopping briefly by her old mansion where she sorrowfully breaks down in tears.
Davis looked like hell the morning after being bailed from jail by a former co-star (Sterling Hayden), who was miscast all over the place. She arrived home to find out that her key didn't fit anymore. She had been locked out for non-payment of rent. Defeated, now homeless, she tells Sterling Hayden, after he asks "where to?", "isn't this the end of the line?
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By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:VHS Tape
Bette Davis plays a washed up Hollywood movie queen with abandon, and her terrific performance earned her a ninth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In the role of Margaret Elliot, Bette infuses it with all the angst and self-doubt that a true has been might undergo.
Margaret Elliot, dead broke, down and out, can't get a role in tinseltown. Drowning her sorrows in alcohol and self pity, Margaret is in serious denial about herself. As she spirals downward, both personally and professionally, a handsome man (Sterling Hayden), whom she had given a break to many years before, comes to her rescue.
When her agent manages to get Margaret a test for the part of an older woman, and it looks like she may have a serious shot at it, Margaret, preferring to play the role of the ingenue, lets her ego take over, and she flubs the test. When she realizes what she has done, her world comes crashing down on her, and self realization sets in. She comes to a crossroad in her life. What decision she comes to remains for the viewer to discover.
This is a nineteen fifties style melodrama, stark and grim. Bette has no qualms about appearing as a woman who is aging, as she appears with bags and circles under her eyes and has a somewhat jowly and bitter look. The wardrobe is mostly drab, and the sets are pedestrian. This all works to effect, as these accouterments are symbolic of Margaret Elliot's new reality. Sterling Hayden gives a credible performance as Mr. Nice Guy, though there is a scene in which a moment of politically incorrect domestic violence is interjected. A teenage Natalie Wood appears in the role of Margaret's daughter and is perfectly adorable in the role.
This is a film that Bette Davis fans are sure to enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 'PHOENIX RISING' July 31 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Was it Oscar Levant who said : "Underneath the Tinsel, you'll find the Real Tinsel" ? This one's a highly polished gem on Miss Davis crown - a true Hollywood Queen.
ANOTHER Grand Performance, and a multiple Award willing performance it is. Well nuanced, and not afraid of the unglamorous, she "plays it as it is" in this caustic tale of a fallen Supernova without a Galaxy.
There are choice moments in the rarely seen work - her losses: the "all-important Hollywood trappings", the resulting painful public auction, a catastrophic comeback "test", and that memorable ride with the little statuette she allegedly named after a relative.
It was timely then [Alla Nazimova!], and applies today.
Young Natalie Wood is the loving daughter shuttled back and forth, Sterling Hayden, the comforting and supporting spouse - an excellent cast in Miss Davis ample shadow.
Mogul Carl Laemlle was heard to have said "Who did this to me?" after seeing young Miss Davis at Universal, she moved to Warners, and Boy did she show them - and then some!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Star (1952) ... Bette Davis ... Stuart Heisler (Director) (2005)"
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation presents "THE STAR" (1952) (89 min/B&W) -- Starring: Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden, Natalie Wood, Warner Anderson, Minor Watson, June... Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2011 by J. Lovins
5.0 out of 5 stars Pre-Ab Fab!
Edina would have been proud! I just love when Bette drives drunk with her Oscar! Or how about when she cuts down those 2 women who recognize her working in a shop? Read more
Published on May 24 2004 by Brandon L. Harlow
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 "Stars" based on BD performance.
Some of the reviews I've read didn't seem to know that The Star was an Independent film. Of course not like them classy ones we see's now at our cinemas and all. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2003 by Daisy Randone
4.0 out of 5 stars Life takes a turn for a star
Bette Davis was once again the great actress in this role of finding who you really are and what you want after being washed up in Hollywood. Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2001 by Abby P.
3.0 out of 5 stars Going..Going..Gone
....This is a pretty odd movie. Taken at face value, you have to wonder at Bette Davis doing it. Was she really at the point in her career that she would be forced to do nothing... Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2001 by tmp
5.0 out of 5 stars There will never be another Bette
I echo the sentiments of a fellow reviewer who said we're stuck with Gwyneth Paltrow or Julia Roberts. Read more
Published on March 20 2001 by C. Mccown
4.0 out of 5 stars Premonitions of a tough time for a great actress
"The Star" is a chilling vehicle that foreshadowed rather than reflected the following decade of Bette Davis's career. Read more
Published on July 21 2000 by Stephen O. Murray
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad but true!
I feel exactly the way one of the reviewers felt: shocked by the story and by the behind-the-scenes tragedies. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars No wonder she was nominated! (She should've won!)
"The Star." I guess no two words could describe the actress who portrays Margaret Elliot, the 'heroine' of this tale. Read more
Published on Dec 6 1999 by J. Stearns
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