A Star is Born came into being when producer David O. Selznick decided to tell a "true behind-the-scenes" story of Hollywood. The truth, of course, was filtered a bit for box-office purposes, although Selznick and an army of screenwriters based much of their script on actual people and events. Janet Gaynor stars as Esther Blodgett, the small-town girl who dreams of Hollywood stardom, a role later played by both Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand in the 1954 and 1976 remakes. Jeered at by most of her family, Esther finds an ally in her crusty old grandma (May Robson), who admires the girl's "pioneer spirit" and bankrolls Esther's trip to Tinseltown. On arrival, Esther heads straight to Central Casting, where a world-weary receptionist (Peggy Wood), trying to let the girl down gently, tells her that her chances for stardom are about one in a thousand. "Maybe I'll be that one!" replies Esther defiantly. Months pass: through the intervention of her best friend, assistant director Danny McGuire (Andy Devine), Esther gets a waitressing job at an upscale Hollywood party. Her efforts to "audition" for the guests are met with quizzical stares, but she manages to impress Norman Maine (Fredric March), the alcoholic matinee idol later played by James Mason and Kris Kristofferson. Esther gets her first big break in Norman's next picture and a marriage proposal from the smitten Mr. Maine. It's a hit, but as Esther (now named Vicki)'s star ascends, Norman's popularity plummets due to a string of lousy pictures and an ongoing alcohol problem. The film won Academy Awards for director William Wellman and Robert Carson in the "original story" category and for W. Howard Greene's glistening Technicolor cinematography.~Hal Erickson
This original story, made in 1937, show Hollywood going into its hay-day. Featuring two of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time (Janet Gaynor and Fredric March), this original screenplay tells the story that is now on its 3rd remake. Unlike the remakes, this is not a musical version but instead based on an actor and an actress - one at the top of their career, and the other just starting. The performances here are a bit dated, but quality none the less. I suggest anyone wanting to see the newest release starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga to see this version first as a frame of reference. One of the great classics of the golden age of Hollywood, and the ORIGINAL from which all others are based.
This is where it all started...Judy,Barbra, Lady Gaga... This one little film started all these HUGE legendary films of our time. and now its on BLURAY.. a must have for any collector and just a great movie to have for a great story and classic black and white transfer to BluRay.
This viewer has seen all versions of A STAR IS BORN, and although this version is almost a mirror reflection of the Judy Garland remake, it doesn't quite fill the bill. All versions of this film have their moments, but the Garland-Mason musical remake still makes me want to see it again over and over. I personally feel it was Judy's shining moment on screen, although she never disappointed.
interesting to see how this movie has evolved from 1937 original with janet gaynor/fredric march to 1954 starring judy garland/james mason to 1976 starring barbra streisand/kris kristoffersonand now lady gaga/bradley cooper 2019.