Thursday, March 24, 2011
A Star is Born
That's how the song goes. It's true there is no business like show business. I mean is there one that's both glamorous and dirty at the same time?
A Star is Born has Hollywood star Norman Maine (James Mason) giving singer Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland) a boost in the movie business. Under stage name Vicki Lester, her star rises, but his starts to burn out.
When Garland made A Star is Born, her own career was a reflection of Norman Maine's: an once-prolific movie career drowned by alcohol. But once she gave a booming rendition of "The Man Who Got Away", it was clear that she's back. Groucho Marx wasn't kidding about calling Garland's Oscar loss "the biggest robbery since Brink's." Seriously, if anyone deserves an Oscar more, it's Garland.
Mason, like his character, gets overshadowed by Garland rather easily, but he has his moments. Like one scene towards the end. He overhears a conversation that brings up the fact that he's all washed up, his drinking being the main contributor. His immediate reaction: flawless.
I normally am not that big a fan of musicals, but I do love the energy one has during a musical number. Like Garland during her "Someone at Last" and "Lose That Long Face" numbers. It's fun to see someone do a restrained role, then let loose in another.
George Cukor, whom I trusted with his comedies (The Philadelphia Story, Adam's Rib, Born Yesterday), blew me away with A Star is Born. Honestly one of the best movies I have seen.
My Rating: *****