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U.S., 1954
Directed by George Cukor
Starring Judy Garland, James Mason
Screenplay by Moss Hart
Approx. 178 min. 35mm.

The picture's old familiar story Norman Maine (James Mason), a hard-boozing screen lover, meets a blues singer named Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland), realizes that she could be terribly important not only to millions of fans but to him. He gets her a screen test; she becomes a great star—and his wife. . As her star rises, his drops. Just as she is about to give up her career to save his soul, he saves her life by ending his. The wife pulls herself together and goes on —and so a star is born. “Overshadowed by Garland’s performance are the formal beauty and rigor of George Cukor’s use of CinemaScope. From the opening shots of backstage pandemonium at the Shrine Auditorium to the famous finale in which the tearful heroine greets the audience by identifying herself as “Mrs. Norman Maine” as the camera pulls back to an extreme high-angle shot, Cukor tailors the star-is-born saga to wide-screen space. But who notices, and who cares? In this nearly-three-hour homage to Garland, the greatest pop singer of the twentieth century and an intuitive actress of enormous charm and power, CinemaScope is beside the point. To be sure, however, Garland in every scene fills the expanded frame, and then some.” – Foster Hirsch


“Judy Garland gives everything she has as the young star on the way up; her performance is an emotional autobiography.”
– Dave Kehr

“Cukor’s version of A STAR IS BORN still proves impossible to equal primarily because of Garland herself, whose performance is one of the greatest ever committed to celluloid.”
– Matt Fagerholm, Roger Ebert

“For the Warners and Mr. Cukor have really and truly gone to town in giving this hackneyed Hollywood story an abundance of fullness and form. They have laid it out in splendid color on the smartly used CinemaScope screen, and they have crowded it with stunning details of the makers and making of films. They have got Judy Garland and James Mason to play the important roles that were filled with such memorable consequences by Janet Gaynor and Fredric March in the original. And they have fattened it up with musical numbers that are among the finest things in the show. And a show it is, first and foremost.”
 – Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

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