- Actors: Janet Gaynor, Fredric March, Adolphe Menjou, May Robson, Andy Devine
- Directors: William A. Wellman
- Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Image Entertainment
- Release Date: Dec 7 2004
- Run Time: 111 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00068NVGG
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #200,084 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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A Star Is Born
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"This is Mrs. Norman Maine," proclaims Janet Gaynor, fighting back the tears as she addresses her fans while still rocked by personal tragedy. It's the kind of grandiose gesture we love in a movie star, and the original A Star Is Born is gloriously grand with a cynical undercurrent. William Wellman, working from a sharp screenplay cowritten by the acerbic Dorothy Parker, strikes a balance between romantic glamour and tragic melodrama, all accomplished with a barely concealed caustic wit. It's a Cinderella story of a fresh-faced farm girl, the improbably named Esther Blodgett (they have a lot of fun with that one) who transforms into screen icon Vicki Lester when she comes to the attentions of matinee idol Norman Maine (Fredric March). But when the deliriously happy couple marries, Vicki's rise to the top is counterbalanced by Norman's fall from grace, a precipitous plummet from stardom to alcoholism and bitterness. Gaynor's milk-fed wholesomeness is a tad corny next to March's worldly cynicism, but she's a movie star through and through. Adolphe Menjou costars as a mercenary agent with a sing-song patter. One of the quintessential Hollywood Self-portraits, A Star Is Born was remade twice and was itself inspired by George Cukor's wonderful What Price Hollywood? and the real-life story of Colleen Moore and John McCormick. March based his character on John Gilbert and John Barrymore. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Janet Gayner actually retired not too long after this movie and did only occasional acting later in life. She had been very active in Hollywood during the 1920's and 1930's. Director William Wellman directed many other good films including PUBLIC ENEMY.
It is difficult for to choose between this movie and the 1954 version starring Judy Garland and James Mason. They are both wonderful.
A STAR IS BORN received Oscars in 1937 for Best Original Story and Color Cinematography. Its numerous Academy Award nominations were for Best Picture, Director (William Wellman), Actor (Fredric March), Actress ( Janet Gaynor), Screenplay and Assistant Director (Eric Stacey).
Norman has a chance encounter with Esther at a concert and then again at a fancy Hollywood party where she is moonlighting as a waitress. He is immediately taken by her natural beauty and sweetness. Norman chooses Esther to be his leading lady in his next movie. When the movie is released, Esther, who is renamed Vicki Lester by the studio, becomes an "overnight" star (that is after she suffers many rejections and near poverty prior to her stardom).
"A Star Is Born" provides a realistic view of the crassness and undeniable glamour of Hollywood. And it examines the fleeting nature of stardom which Hollywood creates and then conveniently and cruelly destroys when a star is no longer viable.
Everything about this movie is first rate in particular the perceptive direction by William Wellman, the smart screenplay by Wellman and Robert Carson, and the uniformly excellent performances by an all-star cast.
March and Gaynor are at their very best giving restrained, yet powerful performances. March's skill as an actor makes the demise of Norman Maine, at the behest of a fickle public and a mostly callous Hollywood establishment, heartbreaking to watch. And Esther's quiet strength and unconditional love and support of her adoring, self-destructive husband are subtly and convincingly conveyed by the gifted Miss Gaynor.
Be sure to stock up on tissues before you see this tragic, unforgettable love story because by its conclusion, your tears will be profuse. I guarantee it.
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