Today, we are reviewing the timeless Warner Brothers classic; "A Star Is Born." The film stars the multi talented; Judy Garland,James Mason, and Charles Bickford.Upon release the film was nominated for six Oscars and won two Golden Globes. After a four year absence from film, Judy Garland gives a performance of a lifetime. This role forced her to dig deeper with her acting chops and singing chops. There was a huge backlash from Garland not winning an Oscar. Anyone who views this film will agree.
The film surrounds an up and coming dancer/singer Esther Blodgett (Garland). Esther is obviously a raw talent that has not gotten her big break. When she catches the eye of popular actor Norman Maine (Mason), she's off to the races. When Ester's name is changed to Vicki Lester by the studio's; her career goes into space. Maine does everything in his power to make sure her talents are displayed. Initially the two are inseparable. They seem good for each other and quickly marry. Unfortunately for Norman, his alcoholism begins to freeze his career while his wife's advances.
Norman's friend Oliver Niles (Bickford) tries to keep him afloat as a studio executive, but his drinking won't cease. The movie industry is finding it harder to deal with him. Vicki loves Norman and continues to work hard to make him proud of her. Despite their emotional marriage she feels she owes him, because he gave her opportunity. Vicki cannot find herself to leave him.
As time progresses, Norman becomes jealous because he has become a relic in the industry. He cannot get work and becomes more and more depressed. It's difficult for him to handle that Vicki get's consistent work while he's been forgotten. He had been a professional actor prior to his wife but, now has become known as Vicki's husband.
The climax is where Vicki is accepting an Oscar and Norman arrives late inebriated. His public drunkenness has reached an all time low. While Vicki's career is strong, his actions are selfish and represent dead weight. Should Vicki leave him in the gutter for her own career and personal safety? Should she continue trying to save him, considering he doesn't seem to want to stop drinking?
Watching this movie, it reminded me of the movie "The Artist." Where one star gives another star a break, only to be eclipsed by them. I can definitely see the similarities between the stories. If you'd never heard of Judy Garland before watching this, one would be memorized. Not denigrating any of the other talents, but Garland is a stand out. She has everything a superstar and professional entertainer needs.Powerful operatic vocal range, cute looks,sharp acting skills, and energetic dance moves. A one of a kind talent. She put everything she had into this role and should be commended.
The only issue with this movie were the add in production stills. This does get annoying in the first half or so of the movie. You just see a still image with multiple lines begins spoken. One feels like they've being cheated in that regard. Other than that this has to go down as one of my favorites.