USA Today - 09/22/2000
"...Arguably director George Cukor's greatest movie..."
Sight and Sound - 04/03/2003
"...[Garland's] personal struggles imbue her performance as the successful partner of a failing alcoholic actor with an unnervingly raw edge..."
Total Film - 02/01/2004
"[A]n accurate take on Hollywood histrionics..."
Premiere - 06/21/2010 3 stars out of 4 -- "A bona-fide classic in the old Hollywood tradition. It's got glitz, glamour, boisterous musical numbers, and a tragic undertone."
A STAR IS BORN was conceived as a comeback vehicle for Judy Garland, who gives a fascinating and heartrending performance in perhaps the finest work of her career. This film was director George Cukor's first musical and first color picture; the tale of a doomed Hollywood couple, it was a remake of the 1937 William Wellman movie with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. Garland plays young singer Esther, who saves Norman Maine (James Mason), a famous star, from making a fool of himself onstage. Maine is an alcoholic whose career is on the wane but who manages, nonetheless, to acknowledge Esther's talent and help her jump-start a career in Hollywood. But as her star rises and his declines, Maine's misery grows. Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin provided Garland with songs that would become standards in her concert repertoire, including "The Man That Got Away," which earned an Oscar nomination for Best Song. A STAR IS BORN is also based on the earlier Cukor picture WHAT PRICE HOLLYWOOD'
First remake of the classic that was one of Judy Garland's greatest hits, and director George Cukor's first color picture, this musical includes Garland's well-known songs "The Man That Got Away" and "Born In a Trunk." The film garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Actress and Actor for Garland and James Mason.
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Theatrical release: September 29, 1954.
The film was budgeted at $2.5 million but ran to $6 million.
A STAR IS BORN was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2000.
Cukor's model for use of color in the film was John Huston's MOULIN ROUGE.
Cukor wanted Cary Grant to do the part of Norman Maine, an alcoholic actor whose career is declining. Cukor turned down Bogart, Brando, and Montgomery Clift.
The Catholic Legion of Decency gave the film a Class B rating.
A STAR IS BORN was remade for the third time in 1976 starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, directed by Frank Pierson.