Star, the (Sous-titres français)
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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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Top Customer Reviews
Directed by Stuart Heisler
Margaret Elliot (Bette Davis) is a bankrupted washed-up Hollywood Oscar winning star living in the past and not accepting the reality. After another great deception trying to get her career back, she gets drunken and is jailed. She is bailed out by Jim Johannson (Sterling Hayden), a young actor promoted by her that gave up the career to buy a repair shipyard. Jim loved her and tries with Margaret's daughter Gretchen(Natalie Wood) to make Margaret see that her glorious days of Hollywood star are over. She needs to be and live with the two people who really love her, him and her daughter.
But Maggie wants to regain her star status on her own terms, and does whatever she needs to for that great ingénue role that has eluded her for so many years
There were some great lines uttered by has-been movie queen, Margaret Elliot. There were many more to come.
Davis turned in a realistic performance as the aging star and conveyed the frustrations that many older performers feel when they realize the truth about their failing careers.
Nominated Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Bette Davis)
Interestingly, this 1952 performance earned Davis her 9th Oscar nomination.
* Special Footnote: -- In the scene where a drunken Margaret Elliot takes her Oscar for a ride in her car, Bette Davis used one of her own Oscars.
1. Stuart Heisler (Director)
Date of Birth: 5 December 1896 - Los Angeles, California
Date of Death: 21August 1979 - San Diego, California
2.Read more ›
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?Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on May 24 2004 by Brandon L. Harlow
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 morePublished on Jan. 22 2003 by Daisy Randone
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 morePublished on Nov. 22 2001 by Abby P.
....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 morePublished on Aug. 6 2001 by tmp
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. Read morePublished on July 31 2001
I echo the sentiments of a fellow reviewer who said we're stuck with Gwyneth Paltrow or Julia Roberts. Read morePublished on March 20 2001 by C. Mccown
"The Star" is a chilling vehicle that foreshadowed rather than reflected the following decade of Bette Davis's career. Read morePublished on July 21 2000 by Stephen O. Murray
I feel exactly the way one of the reviewers felt: shocked by the story and by the behind-the-scenes tragedies. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2000