Classic Film Guide

Star is Born, A (1954)

Newly restored for its Blu-Ray Disc release, this fabulous version of the popular story of a falling (Hollywood movie) star - James Mason as Norman Maine - finding and helping a newcomer (Judy Garland as Esther Blodgett come Vicki Lester), only to be overshadowed by his prodigy, is terrific; it's a remake of the 1937 version. Charles Bickford and Jack Carson play their roles in the film excellently, as usual. The first restoration in 1983 - which included using stills in places where the soundtrack was recoverable though the film was not - was performed by Ronald Haver, who was able to recover 176 minutes of director George Cukor's 182-minute original. In 2010, the Warner Bros. studio used cutting edge tools at their state-of-the-art digital post-production facility to reproduce Haver's version with brilliant saturated colors and much improved sound. In 1954, the film received six Oscar nominations (including one for each of its two leads). Added to the National Film Registry in 2000. #43 on AFI's 100 Greatest Love Stories list. "The Man that got Away" is #11 on AFI's 100 Top Movie Songs of All Time. #7 on AFI's 25 Greatest Movie Musicals list.

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