Judy Garland's movie career is one that's left film enthusiasts with many, many wonderful performances to enjoy. But was any quite as good as the work she put into the excellent A Star Is Born
A Star Is Born teams Garland with James Mason, for one of Hollywood's most cherished musicals. Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin teamed up on the songs, and we follow the story of Garland's Esther, a singer whose career is just starting to take off. Going in the other direction is Mason's Norman, an actor struggling with drink. These two opposites soon attract, although A Star Is Born is no fairytale: this is a film dealing with no shortage of issues.
It's that complexity that gives it all the more depth and resonance though, and makes Esther and Norman's story as compelling as it is. Furthermore, it's a film that's held up to the rigours of time well, and the excellent work on this Blu-ray release certainly helps there. The video quality of the restoration is quite brilliant, with rich colours and details continually on display. The audio has its limits, but that's more tied into the age of the source material, and how it was originally recorded. It's hard to think that it'll ever sound better than it does on this Blu-ray.
There are some welcome supplements too, comprised of a surprising amount of archive material that's been brought together. It's a fascinating collection to wade through, and while it's hardly probing, it's still easy to lose yourself in. Hopefully, with the benefit of such a welcome Blu-ray release, A Star Is Born, and the wonder that was Judy Garland, can go on to entertain for a good deal longer. --Jon Foster
A remake of the 1937 classic, this time as a musical about a Hollywood couple going through bad times. Would-be singer Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland) finds herself taken under the wing of fading star Norman Maine (James Mason) when she saves him from making a drunken fool of himself on stage. Changing her name to Vicki Lester, Esther becomes a star, and is soon married to Norman. However, as Vicki's star rises, so Norman's falls. Harold Arlen/Ira Gershwin songs include 'The Man That Got Away'.