I went back to the classics this weekend with A Star is Born. George Cukor’s remake of the 1937 film by William A. Wellman is three hours long, making it difficult to watch at least two movies yesterday after a shift at the theater, but the longer screening and that much time with Judy Garland’s voice was otherwise worth it.
I love the style used for the opening credits in classic films and sense of nostalgia and reminiscence they create, even for an era well before I was even born.
In this film, Garland plays Esther Blodgett (with the screen name Vicki Lester), a singing starlet discovered by movie star Norman Maine (James Mason.)
Maine is as famous as he is troubled and struggles with alcoholism and his share of public foibles that impact his career.
In fact, Blodgett meets him for the first time as one of those foibles unfolds but isn’t deterred by his drunken actions. When he sobers up and sees Blodgett perform on stage, Maine sees something in her talent, beauty and character.
He offers to help Blodgett get an audition and she is as much enamored with that opportunity as his leading-man charisma.
Blodgett and Maine see their share of challenges from there, both in their relationship and careers, but the bond they establish in the beginning stands the test of time and loss.
I haven’t seen a lot of classic films in my lifetime, but it’s clear why A Star is Born is one documented in 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and stands out among the different versions of the film that are out there.
There is the original, a 1976 version with Barbara Streisand and Bradley Cooper is reportedly directing yet another remake of the film. That doesn’t sound promising to me since the rumored remake has been tossed around Hollywood since 2011 with different directors and actors attached the project.
It obviously wouldn’t be the first time a Hollywood classic is brought back to the big screen, but for some reason it seems to be best to leave the legacy of A Star is Born as it is now.